Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Foggy Day in London Town... always wonderful....

That's how I spent the weekend before Christmas.

In London Town.

For a whirlwind 2 days.

I spent my days walking the streets around my hotel, the Cardogan.
A shoppers dream. Went to Anya Hindmarch, Harrods,Browns,the new mini Liberty and so on.

But the highlight of the shopping excursion was my favorite store in the world- Liberty of London- the real one- on Regent Street.

It is like going back in time when you walk up to the building. The place is filled with history.

The place is a MUST SEE . The floors squeak(love it!!)

You can find Liberty fabrics from long ago- still in production. They have fabrics, needlepoint's,buttons, vintage jewelry,shoes, lingerie, gorgeous rugs, bed linens,a great kitchen shop, all the top designers plus their own Liberty designs- which I personally am a HUGE fan of.AND they just added a boutique of Svensskt Tenn. So hip. There is nothing hipper or unique as Liberty- Barneys- you should weep.

And of course, have tea in the Liberty's Tea Room.

I did.

I had a Cream tea which included tea of choice(Darjeeling) and 2 scones with clotted cream (the best) and jam.

AND Cream of Mushroom Soup (my favorite soup)and crusty bread. The waitress thought I was nuts getting both- and I probably was..but had to have both.

London at Christmas time. No place does it better...

They have this lovely tradition-the Pantomime.
Pantomime , which they call "pantho' for short, is not the same as a mime. "It is a musical-comedy theatrical production traditionally found in Great Britain, Canada, Jamaica, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Ireland, Gibraltar and Malta, and is usually performed during the Christmas and New Year season.Traditionally performed at Christmas, with family audiences consisting mainly of children and parents, British pantomime is now a popular form of theatre, incorporating song, dance, buffoonery, slapstick, cross-dressing, in-jokes, audience participation, and mild sexual innuendo."(wikpedia)

I saw "Cinderella, The Shoe Must Go On"- It was excellent. It was a benefit for the Starlight Foundation. For a clip click HERE .So well done.So Clever. And a lovely young lady, Chelsea, who suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, had her dream of performing on London's West End come true . She was part of the production and did a beautiful dance number, in a sparkly silver dress, dancing in the fog. Not a dry eye in the place.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


January 7th at 10PM on FX

If you haven't watched Season 1 catch up by buying it on iTunes for $23.99. Or watching it the first week of January on FX.

Nah- buy it.
Just do it!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Creche Week

This is my last creche.
It is the smallest one.

It is the second oldest creche I have.
It is from my four babies.

From the 1980's.

It hangs on my tree each year.

Technically it's not a "creche" because the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph aren't there. But I am thinking they are just off to the side greeting the Three Wise Men.
I just love my babies Creche.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Creche Week

This Creche comes from a reservation.

My friend of over 2o years,Robbie, brought it back from a trip six years ago.

In the heat of the summer.

She presented it to me.

She calls it the hot dog creche since the figures look like pigs in the blanket. She just told me this a few days ago!!! Oh no. Now that is imprinted in my brain..

I do love pigs in the blanket though!!

What a gal.

Another treasure.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Creche Week

"...Love's Pure Light"

What is it do you say?

It is a calabash.

Carved on the outside with a master's hands.

You open it up and....

There's the Creche.
It is exquisite.

Tinsel crowns adorn the Three Wise Men.

The figures are made out of corn husks.
This woven hat for the shepherd is so tiny but perfect.

The detail work is extraordinary.
This was made lovingly by a very talented Kenyan artist.

It was presented to me this year by Kate Fletcher, founder of Hekima Place and the young ladies from Hekima that she brought along with her for a visit- Leah and Beatrice.

There are no words to describe what this Creche means to me.

Merry Christmas one and all....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Creche Week

This is the second of the three creches that I received as a gift this year.
From my sis Maggie who always knows exactly what to buy...

It is a planter!

I'm thinking it's from the 50's as well.

I love the retro feel of it- the colors , the figures, the whole thing.
What a treasure!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Creche Week

This is one of three new creches that I received as gifts this year! Each one is unique. Each one serves a different purchase.

This one is from my sister friend Teresa.I think it is from the 1950's. It is a light! How beautiful. The colors jump out at you. I have put it in my front hallway and tun it on every night at dusk.It is an heirloom already.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Creche Week starts Sunday

This painting,Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence (also known as The Adoration)is exquisite.It was done by the master Caravaggio in 1609. Caravaggio was the first artist to master the use of chiaroscuro (Italian for light-dark).Chiaroscuro was a signature of his, and this beautiful piece is no exception.

It was stolen on October 16, 1969 from the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo, Sicily. It is the most valuable piece of art missing today. To learn more about Caravaggio and his troubled short life click here

In 1223, St. Francis created the first living Creche in a small cave in Italy. On Christmas Eve, he and others recreated the Nativity scene- in all its simplicity. This re-enactment is credited as the first living Creche (which is French for "manger")before that, the tableau had been displayed by the wealthy with gold and jewels.Because of St Francis,people began displaying creche's in a more realistic way.

Being a Catholic, I know the manger should be empty until Christmas Day.In our home, it has always been a tradition that the first thing we do is go to the Creche and say Happy Birthday Jesus. Then my youngest daughter gets the baby Jesus out of his hiding place and puts him in the manger where he now belongs.

An interesting tid-bit about the creche- the shepherds and wise men shouldn't arrive at the creche till after Christmas. In America, the figures are set out and leave them there for the season. However in many other countries they add and remove the figures based on the day. The shepherds shouldn't show up till the day after Christmas- so I guess now I'll be putting them out on the 26th. The Wise Men should be placed at the creche in early January-as in the scriptures. And the creche should stay up until until February 2nd, which is the feast day of the Presentation of the Lord.

The White House Christmas Creche, gift of Mrs Charles Engelhard Jr. in 1967, which sits in the East Room every Christmas season.

Sunday will start Christmas Creche Week, where I will share my Creche Collection with all you.

The nativity.

The birth of Jesus.

What Christmas is all about.
Or should be...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kenyan Christmas

Well, I'm tickled green and red...

Daryn Kagan is off to Kenya today to visit Kate Fletcher and the girls of Hekima Place for 2 weeks.Early in 2008, I sent out a mass email to all my friend's about Kate and Hekima Place. Daryn was so moved by Kate's story that she featured her on , as many of you know.

And now here she is- off to Kenya , all do to that email...Wow.

As you know, 5 of the girls from the orphanage that Faces of Kibera aids are now living a wonderful life at Hekima Place!

I am filled with joy.
I can't wait to read all her updates about her trip.
I'll keep you all posted as well so we can experience the journey with her.

God Bless you Daryn.

To read Daryn's Blog entry today- "Today Begins An Amazing Journey"-click here .

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I just knew it...can't wait. But first- all of you- read the book.


Frank Lloyd Wright Biopic Planned

16 December 2008 11:21 PM, PST

Legendary American architect Frank Lloyd Wright is to be immortalised in a new biopic.

Filmmakers are planning a movie adaptation of Nancy Horan's novel Loving Frank, and have hired Reservation Road writer John Burnham Schwartz to pen a screenplay.

Go out and get the book- but don't read it till the New Year- on a snowy day when you don't have to move.You won't ever look at his work again in the same light.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Teacup Tuesday

Hi everyone.
It's once again Teacup Tuesday.
I think this teacup is fitting because of it's name- AUTUMN. I know we are all running around decorating our homes and trees( at least I still am) but it's still AUTUMN till the 21st.

It is not fine Bone China like my other ones.But it is still light to hold AND it is my only teacup which comes with it's own milk pitcher.I just love the watercolor effect of the painted flowers and fruits- how the colors meld from one into the other. The Arts and Crafts feel of this teacup is unlike any other in my collection.

This teacup, from H&K Tunstall, is one of my all time favorites. Hollinshead and Kirkham (H & K) operated pottery works in Tunstall, England from 1890 on. After the First World War, the company began to produce items quite different from their normally staid china, in an attempt to boost flagging profits. The Art Deco, hand painted designs and abstract backgrounds in several colors, was produced sometimes in the 1920s and early 1930s.Truly avant-garde at the time!

It was my grandmother Josephine's.
It is the one teacup, out of all of mine that I know for sure was her and not Grandma Miranda's.

I love how the yellow flows into the inside edge of the teacup.

I'm going to put on the kettle, get out the PK Tips tea bags and think of Grandma Josephine as I sip and trim the tree today.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I just love Rufus Wainwright.His voice is sooooo soothing and beautiful.When he is not singing- he is a riot. From this video- you can see the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. His mom is uber-talented-besides being a singer,song writer and musician, she's an accomplished knitter and baker- her ski cookies are beautiful.I've posted the recipe below the video.

This show was such a treat.


Kate's Ski Biscuit Cookies
from Martha Stewart Show

These delicious and seasonally shaped cookies are courtesy of Kate McGarrigle.

Makes about 30 cookies

* 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
* 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
* 2/3 cup dark molasses
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 orange, zested
* 1 tablespoon dark rum
* 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
* 2 1/2 cups flour, sifted, plus more for work surface
* Small silver dragees, for decorating
* 30 strips candied ginger, for decorating


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a nonstick baking mat or a piece of parchment paper-lined aluminum foil on a rimmed baking sheet so that one long side of the baking mat or foil is propped up onto the edge of the baking sheet, creating a soft slope on one side (the opposite side of the baking sheet will be uncovered by about 1/2 inch).
2. Place butter, sugar, and molasses in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until mixture comes to a boil; remove from heat and stir in baking soda, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, orange zest, rum, and vanilla if using. Add flour and stir to combine; let cool about 30 minutes.
3. Divide dough into two equal pieces. Turn one piece of dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll dough out to 1/8-inch thick. Cut dough into 15 6-by-1-inch rectangles with a point at one end. Repeat process with remaining piece of dough.
4. Working in batches, place cookies on prepared baking sheet 1/2 inch apart so that the pointed end is propped up on the covered edge, creating a soft slope at the tip of each ski. Arrange dragees and candied ginger to create a binding in the center of each cookie. Transfer to oven and bake until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes.
5. If any cookies become stuck together while baking, immediately cut apart using a sharp knife. Let cookies cook slightly on baking sheet to set shape. Carefully remove from baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Well, the eBay auction has just ended. That,along with our fund-raising mailing has helped us raise over $40,000 for Faces of Kibera this holiday season!!

We are now very close to having the land for the new orphanage all paid for and are that much closer to having a new home for the children become a reality.

Thanks to all of you that have donated during these difficult times.Your generosity is overwhelming.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Going Once, Going Twice...

The Faces of Kibera eBay charity auction starts today.

For 5 days we will be auctioning things off like...

Four 50 yard line seats in the 1st row behind Giants bench
for the next home game-December 21st Giants vs Panthers-INCLUDING Pre Game Field Passes and Parking Pass


Game Day in the Radio Booth with Carl Banks and Bob Papa for a Game during the 2009 Giants season


Autographed and personalized Jerry Pinkus photo's from Super Bowl XLII including Eli during THE PLAY from SB XLII


Golf with ELI at the famed Winged Foot Golf Club for 2

Signed Balls including SB XLII ball signed by both Eli Manning and David Tyree-from THE CATCH of SB XLII

Helmet signed by Big Ben Roethlisberger
An official ball signed by Troy Polamalu
VIP Training Camp for 4 to Steelers Camp in Latrobe, PA in 2009

Signed Home Jerseys by NY Giants Manning, Tyree,Tuck,Jacobs,Kiwanuka and Toomer

Artwork by Lynn Mara's "Season's of Glory" Series- signed by the artist and Michael Strahan

And more...

Spread the word.

100% of the profits from this Sports Auction will go directly to Faces of Kibera, a registered New York State 501(c)(3) charity.

Click HERE to see ALL the goodies!
Thanks for looking

I'll be back next week with more jibberish- till then- it's auction time ...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

100th Post Giveaway Winner

Congrat's to Maggie who has won the Ina Garten Cookbook.

I know she's my sis but it WAS NOT FIXED.

Even though she went with me to Disney World to help me with Grand Girl.

Even though she helped me SO MUCH and I don't know what I would have done without her.

Even though she lives right across the street...

I put all the names in a Disney Princess Cup (6 people-boy you guys are quiet as mice)

Thanks to everyone who commented

And thanks to all of you that have been reading my blog...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

How lucky am I??

I get these delivered to my home every Saturday.

Two cute and efficient boys- Max and Christopher drop them off each week at 8AM.

From their chickies.
Across the street.

I can't wait to make this for Christmas this year. It is Christmas in a teacup.And the fresh eggs from Max and Christopher will make it taste divine!

Click here for the video or jot down the recipe below.But be careful- if you drink too much you'll be saying Ho Ho Ho to yourself..

Paula Deen's Mama's Egg Nog


* 6 egg, separated*
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1 pint heavy cream
* 4 pints milk
* 1/2 pint Bourbon
* 1 tablespoon vanilla
* Nutmeg


In a bowl beat the egg yolks with the 1/2 cup of sugar until thick. In another bowl beat the egg whites with 1/4 cup of sugar until thick. In a third bowl beat the cream until thick. Add the cream to the yolks, fold in the egg whites, and add the milk, Bourbon, vanilla, and a pinch of nutmeg, if desired. Chill in freezer before serving.

Serve eggnog in a large punch bowl.


Food Network Kitchens suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs due to the slight risk of Salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly-refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008



If you've never watched and are wondering what all the hoopla is about- ask for all the old seasons for Christmas- you can watch them on your computer from iTunes.


You won't be able to stop.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Today is the 20th anniversary of AIDS DAY.

I spent it and my weekend- with two lovely young ladies from Kenya.

Leah and Beatrice.

Leah wants to be an actress and Beatrice wants to be a doctor. I can see them both succeeding. They are scholar gals from the lovely school- Hekima Place which I have talked about often. The girls there have all lost their parents to AIDS.My friend Kate Fletcher is doing God's work there in giving them a loving, nurturing home.

And HOPE for a future.

It was an honor to have them all here at my home and to share with them their first Thanksgiving turkey. It was a joyful, thankful weekend.