Yearly Archives: 2015
Post by Mark T. Locker.
The Ghost of Graylock by Dan Poblocki.
I know spring is not the time of year people think of creepy, haunted sanitariums. But sometimes, on a stormy spring evening, when the wind is throwing the rain and cherry blossoms everywhere, curling up under a light blanket and a spooky book is just the thing. I have had this ghost story sitting around for a while but finally picked it up. Neil and Bree are siblings in the midst of personal turmoil. Their dad has left for the west coast and their mom is struggling with a nervous breakdown. In order to give her space to recover, the kids are sent to their aunts’ house in a small town in upstate New York. Quickly, they discover that one of their neighbors in the vast and ghastly Graylock Hall, an abandoned sanitarium, supposedly home to the ghost of the wicked Nurse Janet, believed to have drowned more than one patient from the hospital. Naturally, they want to explore; what they don’t plan for is that something would follow them back.
Tormented with visions and feelings, the children begin trying to unravel the mystery of who is haunting them, and why. Is it the malevolent spirit of Nurse Janet, seeking new victims? Or is it one of her victims, seeking justice? Dan Poblocki continues to deliver spine-tingling fun for young teens and grown-up kids at heart alike. Fun book to pull out on a rainy night or a spooky campfire read.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Often characterized by mixing bold, busy patterns, lantern light fixtures, and ornamental surface details, Moroccan rooms aren’t as common as some other design styles. Still, when done well, Moroccan-themed spaces can be lovely, happy rooms, and even feel restful enough to capture a good sleep.
Take a peek at these five Moroccan-inspired bedrooms, each of which pushes the creative envelope in one sense or another.
You probably wouldn’t ever think that an all-white bedroom could be Moroccan in style, but the above photo proves otherwise. Stylish and sophisticated, this neutral space boasts a Mediterranean feel. The designer used pattern to create a modern, Moroccan escape that combines a sleeping area and sitting room.
A Moroccan-style wall covering sets the tone for this unique bedroom. Bold and busy, the bed wall becomes the focal point of this compact, cozy space and influences the rest of the design, which leans toward contemporary.
Going Moroccan in a nursery? Yes, indeed, and it works. From the baskets to the hot pink poufs to the unmatched pendants and artwork, this cheery room sports all the right touches for a newborn and parents to feel happy and relaxed. This room can easily transition into a child’s room or even an adult’s bedroom with just a few minor adjustments.
Tall headboards and simple bed skirts in a Moroccan-themed fabric, a tile floor, and the teal and marigold combine nicely to create a bright, twin bedroom. Notice how the teal paint on the lower half of the walls is the same shade that’s on the leading edge of the drapery. The color scheme ties all of the elements together.
Bright blue with gold, plenty of pattern, and the right amount of red give this space drama. A tub in the bedroom isn’t traditional, but lends a true Moroccan feel to this color-filled suite.
Post by Alison Hein.
My sister and I share a favorite childhood memory – we are at quaint Lake Edenwald where our grandparents have a funky but beloved log cabin. All of our cousins are there. We splash in the shallow area of the lake, until one by one, our Grandpa methodically teaches each of us to swim, in order of age. The challenge? To make it to the old splintery raft through the deepest, darkest water to the far side of the lake. Our boy cousins roughhouse, chasing and splashing, until we are spent. We paddle to shore, finally squish our toes down into the spongy lake bottom, then run to our mother. She’s laughing and smiling, waiting for us. She hands us each a tiny, personal-sized and precious box of Nabisco Ginger Snaps. We collapse on our towels and blissfully gorge on the well-earned treats.
I’m not sure if Nabisco still makes those tiny boxes of cookies, but every year when the weather starts to warm, I get a hankering for a handful of chewy coin-sized snaps. These are a little larger and a little spicier than the originals. I like to use fresh-squeezed ginger juice for extra tang. If you don’t have a juicer, simply peel and grate a hunk of fresh ginger. Then squeeze the pieces over a clean bowl until the juice flows. Strain and use to create these lovely little snaps and a personal-sized, precious breakfast in bed.
¼ cup (½ stick) butter, softened, plus more for baking sheets
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsulphured dark molasses
1 tablespoon fresh ginger juice
1½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ cup granulated sugar, for dusting cookie tops
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add molasses and ginger juice and blend until creamy. In a second bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. Add gradually into butter mixture, until thick dough forms. Shape the dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350° and grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Form rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls. Arrange the balls on the prepared sheet. Pour some granulated sugar into a small dish. Wrap the bottom of a small glass with plastic wrap. Press the bottom of the glass into the sugar, then press and turn the glass onto each ball of dough, flattening before baking.
Bake the cookies until they have set but still seem soft in the middle, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on sheets for a couple of minutes before transferring to wire racks.
Makes approximately 2½ dozen cookies
Post by Tracy Kaler.
With warmer weather approaching, sun and sand time is right around the corner. When I dream of beach houses and coastal getaways, I can’t help but think of Nantucket, the charming seaport town off the coast of Cape Cod.
Nantucket has its own style and personality: nautical themes, muted blues, crisp whites, and natural materials are a few elements that characterize the island’s shingle-style houses.
In a coastal mood now? Take a peek at these five pretty bedrooms that will leave you fantasizing about a summer in Nantucket.
On the traditional side, this impeccably decorated blue and white bedroom sports a New England feel. No detail has been left out –– from the perfectly fluffed pillows to the throw on the ottoman and touch of greenery on the mantle, the room would be a pleasure to relax in for an afternoon or sleep in during an extended stay.
This spacious bedroom boasts a monochromatic scheme with a view of the sea. The space is relaxing and soothing. Who needs anything more?
I love the elegance in this bedroom. Notice the crisp Roman shade, Fortuny-esque pattern on the headboard, and the simple chandelier. Although the beach doesn’t immediately come to mind when I look at this room, I can easily imagine the space in an 18th century Nantucket cottage.
This modern Nantucket renovation still features classical elements. Notice the extra bed along the side of the room, which is pretty typical in beach houses.
What an adorable attic bedroom with a nautical theme. The ladder goes to a boat hatch and leads to a widow’s walk roof deck. The clever, uncluttered room sleeps multiple people and appears to get plenty of natural light.
Post Alison Hein.
We invited our good friends Michael and Luis for dinner shortly before Easter. When Luis offered to come a little early and help me prepare, I agreed whole-heartedly. Little did he know I intended to trick him into making tie-dyed Easter eggs! (You can now buy these kits in your local grocery store.) Anyway, they turned out beautifully. Luis’ artistry made for an impressive display, and I even let him take a couple home.
After the holiday, a handful of these beautiful eggs still remained, and I longed to use them purposefully. My first inclination was for some type of deviled eggs, but then I remembered an old favorite from Anna Thomas – parsleyed eggs on the half-shell. Eggs, hard-boiled and scooped out, their innards mixed with parsley and butter, then returned to their shells and cooked to a crisp, golden finish. What inspiration! Now I could showcase my lovely tie-dyed eggshells, and pay homage to Anna Thomas, famed for her 1972 book The Vegetarian Epicure, sometimes called “the vegetarian Bible of the 1970s.”
Slicing through the shells and removing the cooked egg is difficult work, so take your time. Don’t worry if the first couple don’t work out so well – you’ll soon get the hang of it. And, even if you don’t feel like tie-dying your parsleyed eggs, I’m sure you will still enjoy the artistry of Anna’s recipe, and a beautiful vegetarian, epicurean breakfast in bed.
2 tablespoons butter, softened, plus additional for cooking
½ cup fresh parsley, washed
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place eggs in a small heavy saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil on high heat and continue to cook eggs for 10 minutes, until hard-boiled. Cool.
Using a sharp, serrated knife, carefully tap and score the eggshell in half lengthwise, then cut entire egg in half. Gently scoop out cooked yolks and white, retaining shell halves. Repeat with remaining eggs. Place cooked egg whites and yolks in blender or food processor. Add softened butter and parsley and blend to a smooth, thick paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Trim off any jagged edges, and fill shells with egg mixture, smoothing to a flat top.
When ready to serve, heat butter in heavy pan over medium low heat. Place egg halves in pan, stuffing side down, and cook over low heat until light brown and crisp on top and heated through, about ten minutes. Serve warm.
Makes 2 to 4 servings.