"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mop Philosophy Monday

 I've been preparing my house for my family who arrive this week from all corners.  I spent an entire morning cleaning all of the baseboards and millwork in the whole house with a soapy mixture: natural glycerin soap, hot water and essential oil of lavender.  It was very soothing work, I recommend.

I did some shopping at my favourite source for "smalls": Ellie's wonderful Paris-based shop Have Some Decorum HOME.
Beautiful brass candle trimmer.
 Her shop is exquisite because Ellie has the best taste in the world... your smalls will arrive perfectly packaged direct from Paris.
Delicate French serving pieces from Have Some Decorum HOME
 We've been driving all over to visit friends at their cottages, there were campfires:
 We had some rain at the cottage which of course carves out time to play Trivial Pursuit 1980's but also creates a magical hour or two afterwards, I love to be out on the dock after the rain:
After The Rain
 Why is it that we experience things like the strange beauty of the ever-changing sky most intensely at places like cottages?
 How do you prepare for family visits?
 I'm focussed on flowers, fresh towels and linens, and of course food.

 I did manage to finish my sports-gear-organizing project and I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner.  I bought some of those big totes from Lands End and had them monogrammed accordingly:

 I've got them stored in the open cupboard under the stairs for easy access: grab and go Sporty People!
 Hoping to continue Summer's trend of eating outdoors?  Me too.
 I'm planning to whip up Ina Garten's famous chicken for my family...
 ... but as far as baking I think I'll be headed to Eric the Baker, local source of fabulous French pastries, don't take my word for it, Mimi says so too.
Might have to slip a little something from Eric The Baker in here.  Hehehe.
 The most important visitor this week is my little nephew and he'll have all eyes on him the entire time ... I retrieved some of the Rascal's toys out of storage for this very special occasion:
Tomtem looking a little worse for the wear.
 This version of Mother Goose by Rosemary Wells was hands-down my favourite book for all three of my Rascals.  This is my fourth copy of it, the first three fell apart from constant use, I've read it thousands of times, who else had this edition?
I hope to read it again this week, more than once!
Enjoy your Monday and your week.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Summer Projects

Closet Organizing: my favourite summer project.
We've been busy goofing off this last weekend and hope to continue that trend, which might make posting a bit sporadic.  I do have a new post up on Frock Philosophy which you might enjoy if, like me, you find it fun to read about closet organizing and wardrobe management.

I hope to be back next week with some other summer projects that pertain more to household organization... in the meantime be as good as you can be while still optimizing the fun.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mop Philosophy Monday

Dinner on the terrace.
In sixteen weeks that cedar hedge will be covered with snow.
 Someone said to me the other day "in sixteen weeks we'll have snow on the ground" and of course my first thought was What a Party-Pooper.  But then I realized that it's true... which means we definitely need to have dinner outdoors as much as possible.

On burger night I don't mind having the Maille jar on display, being so attractively French and all:
 The ketchup bottle is less charming to the eye so I always squirt some into a container, right now it's a Bonne Maman jar, again attractively French:
Bonne Maman jar holding Heinz ketchup.
 I served sweet potato fries with the burgers last week, that's one way to get orange vegetables into those Rascals:
Sweet Potato Fries: they always get a bit charred, maybe I need a lower oven temperature?
 I think we need to talk about zucchini.  As you may remember Molly Katzen's Zucchini-Crusted Pizza is one of my favourite recipes of all time.  I've discovered once and for all that it's even better when the zucchini has all liquid squeezed the heck out of it.

Squeeze the zucchini in a linen towel to get all of the liquid the heck out of it.
 I like that this recipe does some multi-tasking with the grater: first the zucchini and then the cheese:
 I mixed mine up with fresh herbs from the garden, basil mostly:
 Why not use parchment paper?  It makes clean-up a breeze:
 I layered it with a fresh tomato, some shallots and more basil:
 Then added piles of cheese and sliced brown mushrooms:
 When throwing raw mushrooms on top of an oven-cooked recipe I think we can all agree that a few glugs of olive oil are needed for optimum roasting:
 I served it with buttered parsley potaotes...
 ...and of course salad.
With more cheese, why not.
 In other news from the Mop Philosophy Kitchen I had to rescue our butter dish this week.  The lid fell on the floor and broke clean in half, you'll be happy to know all was well after some mending with Krazy Glue.
I was able to save the Emma Bridgewater butter dish with Krazy Glue thank goodness.
I think every household needs a tube of Krazy Glue kicking around, how about you?

I hope your week is off to a fine start.  I'm going to be doing plenty of cleaning and organizing before we head off on a trip later this week.  I'll let you know how it goes, especially the organizing: I've got a couple of projects up my sleeve.
Take Care Tooties,

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Slapdash Decorator Turns An Eye To The Front Porch

 Our front porch is one of my favourite places to people-watch and drink a glass of wine.  Therefore cushioning is important, and because this space is, after all, outdoors, it is ideal if those cushions are slipcovered so they can be tossed in the wash easily.
Last year I bought some rather uninspiring cushions from Pier One.  The seat cushions fit the furniture (which was purchased at Pier One several years ago, they seem to always have this same style of wicker hanging about) but the indoor-ooutdoor fabric covering them was kind of blah.
So I decided to buy some fabulous French fabric (the porch is covered so it didn't have to be a Sunbrella fabric) and sew up some slipcovers in a slapdash fashion.
 This fabric has a grey background with bits of orange, blue-grey and even a little chartreuse in the pattern.
I love it so much I used the online fabric sample to create the new wallpaper for the blog.
 The sewing on these is pretty terrible but the slouchy slapdash effect somehow suits the casual porch... at least that's what I'm telling myself.
The orange in the main fabric picks up the orangey-red brick of the house, don't you think?
 I had a yard of this fabulous light green toile fabric, also from France, that I was planning on using in the living room.  I had the living room cushions made from velvets with trims so this fabric was left abandoned... in the end I think it suits the porch and the wicker.
 Another Slapdash Decorator solution took place last week... the corralling of the sneakers and the Birkenstock sandals in the foyer.
Scout has decided that she loves to eat sandals and sneakers so when Little Rascal is here with her friends they just throw their footwear on top of the piano:
I know, not very elegant.
 I had a basket that was originally intended for magazines just lying around and it turns out to be a perfect container for several pairs of shoes:  they can be propped in there vertically and don't get lost in a commotion on the bottom.
How's your week going?  It's been so hectic around here I can't even tell you.  I hope you're having fun and staying out of mischief.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Mop Philosophy Monday

Hydrangea paired with Saskatoon Berries.
 Our garden has gone mad, the Saskatoon Berry tree is bursting with colour, the Hydrangea plants are exploding with blooms.  It rained for days and days which set the whole lot up for lushness.

 It only happens for a couple of months a year but it is a thrill to walk into the garden and snip off a few items for arrangements inside the house.
 I've been growing basil in pots as well as a wee little Bay Laurel.

Who likes to have salad for breakfast?  My Little Rascal, that's who.  This one is her favourite: tomatoes, fresh basil, avocado and bocconcini cheese.
 I'll tell you what she cannot stand to eat for breakfast: eggs.  As a little kid she called them Bad Eggs and if they were being cooked in the kitchen she wouldn't come downstairs for breakfast.
Bad Eggs?
To tell the truth I don't care for them much either though I can tolerate them as a component of a recipe, like Zucchini Fritters for example.
Zucchini Fritter Recipe
 My absolute hands-down favourite vegetable these days is a gorgeous orange pepper.  Did you know that they are especially good for your eyesight?
 I like to serve a little salad of orange peppers, cubes of feta cheese and some dried oregano sprinkled all over.  Finish with a little olive oil, fresh lemon and salt for a nice side dish to some fish or chicken.
 We've had such a busy week here supporting our family and friends, my mother-in-law has not been well and one of my best friends lost her dear Aunt.  She was so upset there was only one thing for it:  a delivery of some soothing home-cooked food:
Home Cooked Care Package
 I sourced some organic beef, cooked up a big stew with parsley and tomatoes and brought along some fresh tomatoes to slice up for a side salad.

We brought it over in a picnic basket and stayed to share the dinner outside in their garden.  I think we can all agree that eating a meal outdoors is soothing for the soul in and of itself.

Which reminds me of our many outdoor picnics at this time last year in the Yorkshire Dales:

MrBP with his trusty F&M picnic backpack.

 Those are such happy memories, MrBP can organize a picnic lunch right up there with the top experts.

 I hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July.  We were busy visiting MrBP's dear mother in hospital so we cancelled our party, which our friends understood because they are all going through similar things these days... time of life.

I still put together a cheering and appropriate outfit because making a small effort with wardrobe tells people they are important to you... I know you'll agree with me on that.
JCrew linen skirt in red, white and blue, 2007.
For more Frock Philosophies please see my latest post: an update on chambray shirt outfits.

I hope you've been well Darling Tooties.