Spring Sign

Robert Indiana’s $3 million, 13-foot tall, 3-ton pop art sculpture “Hope” is located on the corner of 7th Ave and 53rd St in Manhattan.

Happy Spring, hon!

“The sun just touched the morning;
The morning, happy thing,
Supposed that he had come to dwell,
And life would be all spring.”
― Emily Dickinson


“It was such a spring day as breathes into a man an ineffable yearning, a painful sweetness, a longing that makes him stand motionless, looking at the leaves or grass, and fling out his arms to embrace he knows not what.”
― John Galsworthy, The Forsyte Saga

Spring Kids Craft, Edible Birds Nests

Denver Botanic Gardens.

Edible Birds Nests.

When I taught After School Enrichment classes for grades 3-5, one of the projects we made was Edible Birds Nests. I didn’t take good pictures–think sticky-from-marshmallows-hands–so credit must be given to D Magazine’s Jessica Jones for these project photos.

Edible Birds Nests are easy, fun and perfect for celebrating Spring. Need an Easter activity for a party? This one is egg-cellent!

Gather ingredients.

Mold chow mein/melted marshmallow mixture into a cupcake tin.

 

Once the Birds Nests have hardened in the fridge, pop them out of the cupcake tin and fill with jellybean eggs.

A teeny-tiny nest with one egg is perfect as a cupcake topper. (thanks, Jessica Jones, for the suggestion.)

EDIBLE NESTS RECIPE (yields about 12 cupcake-sized nests)

Ingredients:

•1/4 cup butter

•3 cups marshmallows

•5 cups chow mein noodles

•Cooking spray

•Candy to fill nests

Directions:

1. Melt butter and marshmallows together over medium-low heat. Remove from heat.

2. Add chow mein noodles, and mix til combined.

3. Spray a cupcake tin with cooking spray, as well as your fingers. Mold the mixture into nest shapes in the cupcake tin.

4. Place in freezer for at least an hour. Remove nests using a knife.

5. Fill with your choice of candy.

Source: DMagazine

Spring Video, How Does Life Live?

In celebration of Spring, I’m adding a new post every day this week and came across something extraordinary to share. It’s a 12-minute video called How Does Life Live? by Kelly O’BrienIt’s just beautiful!

Kelly filmed her daughters playing while her 3 year-old Willow asks questions about life. O’Brien says, “Kids are endlessly curious and ask about how life works, the ineffable mystery of it, all the time. Their questions reflect that time between innocence and experience as they try to figure out who they are in relation to the world around them.” My favorite question Willow asks is, “Do blue butterflies eat part of the sky?”

It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

If you watch How Does Life Live?, I’d love to know what your favorite question was.

Happy new beginnings, hon.

Spring’s Secret Garden

Monarch feeding on a Butterfly Bush.

The Secret Garden was one of the classics I read to my children. We spent many hours in the car driving to Maryland and Long Island to visit family (hon, trust me, we know every rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike), and made the time pass quickly by learning language, discovering stories, discussing characters and predicting plots. I only found out later that “brain imaging has suggested that hearing stories evokes visual images in children’s brains, and more strongly if those children are accustomed to being read to.” (The Merits of Reading Real Books to Your Children  by Perri Klass, M.D.,The New York Times)

Wait! What? Something I did was good for my kids? Woohoo! Hopefully, that balances out the other stuff that might not have been, ummm, as advantageous.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

First Day of Spring

Lake Champlain, Vermont.

Hon, this poem speaks to the heart I wish to heal, the head I hope to clear, and the life I must make matter.

“So I am not a broken heart.
I am not the weight I lost or miles or ran and I am not the way I slept on my doorstep under the bare sky in smell of tears and whiskey because my apartment was empty and if I were to be this empty I wanted something solid to sleep on. Like concrete.
I am not this year and I am not your fault.
I am muscles building cells, a little every day, because they broke that day,
but bones are stronger once they heal and I am smiling to the bus driver and replacing my groceries once a week and I am not sitting for hours in the shower anymore.
I am the way a life unfolds and bloom and seasons come and go and I am the way the spring always finds a way to turn even the coldest winter into a field of green and flowers and new life.
I am not your fault.”
Charlotte Eriksson

Dream Writing Studio/Living Area

Barn built in 1882.

Hon, you know I love to write, right?

What better place to work on my writing than in my barn? One little problem…it’s not furnished. When Hubby and I bought our Historic Victorian, it came with this barn, which had a horse stall, hayloft and a wrought iron track from which a sliding door hung. In the years since, the wheels on the track rusted, the horse stall walls rotted, and the hayloft window was nailed shut. We’ve reappointed the stone foundation, but the main floor would need a ton of TLC to make it my…

Dream Writing Studio/Living Area

The studio would have a writing area, living area, and powder room. When it gets warmer, maybe I’ll share a “design board” for my fantasy beach house.

Thanks for indulging me!

Do you have a dream living space? What would you use it for?

Sources:  Arhaus, Pottery Barn, Ralph Lauren Home, Restoration Hardware, Schumacher, One King’s Lane, Refresh Living

Glass Tea House, Venice Architecture Biennale

View from the bell tower of the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice.

Another view.

Sign in the bell tower.

Last summer in Venice, my daughter and I discovered something beautiful and peaceful behind the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore. We had taken the vaparetto, or water taxi, to the island of San Giorgio to see the views from the bell tower. We spotted a bright blue rectangle and we were curious. 

The hidden gem turned out to be a teahouse at the museum Le Stanze del Vetro. Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto designed Glass Tea House Mondrian for the Venice Architecture Biennale.

The ‘Glass Tea House Mondrian’ by Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto unites wood, glass and water as a pavilion, holding the traditional japanese tea ceremony within its transparent walls. The temporary structure consists of two main elements: an open-air landscape courtyard and an enclosed glass cube.

The garden follows a path leading along a forty-foot-long reflecting pool completely covered in Bisazza mosaic, guiding the visitor to a lucent space, inside which the cultural ritual is performed. The pavilion hosts two visitors at once, together with the master of the tea ceremony, while the other spectators can take part by watching around the perimeter of the reflecting pool.

Relating to its surrounding environment and the historical context of the site, Sugimoto’s ‘Glass Tea House’ suggests a subtle analogy between the ancient tea ceremony practice and the art of venetian glassmaking.

Glass Tea House Mondrian by Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Click here to read an interview with Sugimoto. Click here to see how the tea house was assembled.

Happy exploring, hon.

Source: Designboom.com

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Streusel Coffeecake

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

Gather dry ingredients.

Gather dry ingredients.

Beat butter and sugar

Beat butter and sugar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add dry ingredients and sour cream a little at a time.

Add dry ingredients and sour cream to wet ingredients a little at a time.

Mix streusel ingredients.

Mix streusel ingredients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pour half the batter into a bundt pan and cover with half the streusel mixture.

Pour half the batter into a bundt pan and cover with half the streusel mixture.

Cut a slice and enjoy!

Slice and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

I found this recipe in my Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking cookbook. It was so easy to follow, I made it twice in the same day! One coffee cake stayed at home and lots of mini coffee cakes were given out.

Happy baking, hon.

For the Streusel Filling:

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz/75 g) firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup (3 oz/90 g) chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

 For the Batter:

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 oz/390 g) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (6 oz/185 g) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cups (10 oz/315 g) granulated sugar

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups (12 oz/375 g) sour cream

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10-inch (25 cm) tube pan or Bundt pan.

2.  To make the streusel filling, in a small bowl, combine butter, flour, brown sugar, nuts, and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender or fork, mix until crumbly. Set streusel aside.

3.  Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

4.  In a large bowl, with a mixer, beat together butter and granulated sugar on medium-low speed until creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Add dry ingredients in 3 batches alternately with sour cream and mix on low speed just until batter is blended and almost smooth.

5.  Pour half of the batter into prepared pan and smooth surface with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle evenly with half the streusel filling. Cover with remaining batter and sprinkle with remaining streusel.

6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. (Cook less time if you make smaller coffee cakes. The small cakes I made were done in about 25 minutes.) Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out of pan and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Tip:  For cakes, butter and eggs should be room temperature. They can be taken out about 2 hours before baking. If you cut the butter into small chunks it will warm up faster. To bring eggs to room temp more quickly, place them in a bowl of warm water.

Related Post: Cinnamon Chocolate Coffee Cake

I added mini chocolate chips to the mini coffee cakes because why not?

I added mini chocolate chips to the mini coffee cakes because why not?

Pattern Reveal

What is it?

What is it?

Dried out sunflower,

Dried out sunflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pattern Perspective

I like experimenting with perspective, zooming in and out, to get completely different views of the same object or scene.

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What is it?

What is it?

Frozen Foam

Frozen Foam on the Rahway River in New Jersey.

 

 

 

 

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What is it?

What is it?

Screens made of

Screens made of glass.

 

 

 

 

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Modern birdhouse on the High Line

Modern birdhouses on the High Line in Manhattan.

What is it?

What is it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What is it?

What is it?