THE WARM SIDE OF MINIMALISM

Here is a wonderful article from Kohler about designing a simple, but wonderful bathroom.

Veil Master Bathroom Suite from Kohler

Minimalist design centers around de-cluttering space and providing more room for both the mind and the body to breathe. Too often this design style is mistaken for being stark, bare or monochromatic—but that is a far cry from the inviting feeling of warm minimalism. Follow these simple guidelines to carefully curate your space and ensure your bathroom can feel both pared down and cozy at the same time.

Well-Rounded Silhouettes:
Minimalism has evolved from harsh corners to the gestural, organic rounded edges seen in the pieces of the Veil Collection. By incorporating ergonomics and asymmetric spherical shapes into the minimalist world, this collection forms a powerfully comfortable design.

Overhead view of the Veil freestanding bath from Kohler

Beyond White:
White fixtures are a staple of minimalist suites like the Veil Collection, but they instantly become more inviting by adding décor and paint colors in a neutral color palette. When a room utilizes these subtle accents of taupes and shades of white, it creates a subdued energy that’s perfect for rejuvenation.

Tantalizing Textures:
While the overall aesthetic of minimalism shies away from the extravagant, bringing in textured fixtures creates interest without becoming overwhelming. When seen from far away, pieces like the Artist Edition Shagreen Sink don’t steal attention but upon closer inspection, its fine details add eye-catching depth and shimmer.

Oyster Pearl Artist Edition Shagreen Sink from Kohler

Nature as Nurture:
Intentionally choose a few perfect pieces of décor like plants or other natural materials to add to your design in order to help your bathroom feel less bare. Wood accents can be painted over as a way to blend the outdoors into your color scheme and bring energy to a space. The contrast of treated wood or splashes of greenery soothe the environment and bring the outdoors in.

Layers of History:
Items with a lived-in vibe can actually enhance a clean, minimalist design. For instance, distressed and oxidized metal finishes like the Composed Faucets in Titanium Finish present as sleek and contemporary but still have warmth. These designs infuse a sense of charm and intrigue in a modern space.

Composed Faucet in Titanium Finish from Kohler

Stay Versatile:
One way to keep out the clutter in a bathroom and still provide function is to expertly choose pieces that are multi-purpose. For example, the Verdera Lighted Mirror has built-in lights which eliminate the need for additional light sources. Hidden storage inside of a vanity or mirror also keeps your grooming items close but out of sight. In this way, minimalism emphasizes quality over quantity—a sentiment that translates to more mindful living in general.

The Verdera Lighted Mirror with built-in Amazon Alexa

Invisible Technology:
Tech innovations should elevate your bathroom experience without ever feeling intrusive. The Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror uses voice control to center your routine around mindfulness and immersing yourself in a relaxing escape from the modern world.

By following these warm minimalism trends you’re sure to create a space that feels as good as it looks.

THE WARM SIDE OF MINIMALISM

Curves in Photography

One thing about my blog, is that you never know what will be featured next.  If you keep in mind that food, art, photography, interior design, fashion design and gardening are the things I love; that will give you a better idea what to expect to see at any time on my personal blog.  If you don’t love most of those, then I am the wrong one to follow.

For the next assignment in our local Photography group we decided “Curves” would be a good topic.  Here are few of my ideas for curves.  I would love to know what you like the best with the topic in mind.

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These were on my dining room table, and I love how the windows reflected in the curve of the vase.

Flower 4

This one I obviously fell in love with all the fabulous floral curves of this beautiful carnation.

Then I went into the kitchen to a slightly different direction.

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I love the beautiful aesthetically roundness and color of farm grown eggs.  Here were my offerings.

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Leaving the yolk inside was just such a beautiful color I took another shot.

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When I did a search for photographic curves, all that showed up were exquisite nudes.  Since I don’t have a model and I am definitely not going to be a model I had search elsewhere.

Bowl 5

So here is my fun work for the day!  Think I will read my book.

Curves in Photography

Michael Symon’s Mom’s Lasagna

Total:  2 hr 50 min
Prep:  20 min
Inactive:  20 min
Cook:  2 hr 10 min
Yield:  6 servings
Level:  Intermediate

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound pork neck bones
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, loose or removed from casings
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes, with their juice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound dried lasagna noodles
  • 2 pounds whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for final topping
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, grated

Directions

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and a three-finger pinch of salt and sweat them until they’re translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the neck bones and let them brown, about 5 minutes. Add the ground veal, beef and sausage, and season with another healthy pinch of salt. Cook until the meat is browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the white wine, tomatoes and their juice, and the bay leaves. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, making sure to get all of the browned bits into the sauce. Season the sauce with salt, to taste, and simmer for 2 hours over medium heat. Remove the bay leaves and neck bones and let cool. Skim any fat that rises to the surface.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat. Add enough salt so that it tastes seasoned and allow the water to return to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until al dente. Drain well and set aside.

In a medium bowl mix together the ricotta, parsley, basil, oregano, eggs, and Parmesan with a pinch of salt.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Ladle about 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of a lasagna pan. Arrange a layer of noodles followed by a layer of sauce and then some of the ricotta mixture. Top with a layer of mozzarella, smoothing it with a spatula to the edges. Repeat the process until the pan is full. Finish with a final layer of noodles, sauce, the mozzarella, and Parmesan.

Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it rest, 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

The chef was raised on his mother’s next-level, thirty-layer lasagna, which he serves at his new Atlantic city restaurant.

REGAN STEPHENS

September 05, 2017

Every Italian dutifully swears his mom’s cooking is the best, but in Michael Symon’s case, it may actually be true. The Iron Chef recently opened Angeline in Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa as an homage to his mom, Angel. The menu, inspired by family recipes, is a roundup of the classic, red-sauce-style Italian dishes Symon grew up eating: handmade linguini with clams, arancini, eggplant parm and a daily “Sunday Supper” that includes a feast of prosciutto, ricotta and red peppers, cavatelli, garlic bread, meatballs and more. But one dish evokes a particularly strong sense of nostalgia for Symon: lasagna.

“Every Wednesday at my parents’ house was lasagna night—the night all my friends begged to eat over,” he says. “You could smell the lasagna baking houses away, and Wednesday was the only night of the week I was more than happy to be early for dinner. I’ve eaten lasagna from every corner of the earth, and I have yet to find one as good as Mom’s.”

Symon recreates Angel’s recipe in the thirty-layered dish he named “Mom’s Lasagna.” In a glossy dining room designed with little touches to recall his mom’s home (floral wallpaper, lace curtains and a built-in hutch displaying cake plates and other nonna-approved knick-knacks) servers present towering rectangles of pasta and cheese that sit atop pools of meaty red sauce. If you aren’t getting an invite to Mrs. Symon’s house on lasagna night, this is the next best thing.

To start your own Wednesday night tradition, use the chef’s best tips for building an architecturally-impressive, nostalgia-inducing lasagna.

The Noodles

According to Symon, cutting corners sacrifices taste. “Don’t bother with those no-boil noodles—they compromise the texture,” he says. “Go the extra mile and use the real thing.” He also quotes his co-host on The Chew: “When boiling the noodles, salt your water until, in the words of Mario Batali, it’s ‘as salty as the sea.’ This is your chance to season your pasta.”

The Cheese

To help keep layers smooth and mess-free, use Angel’s trick. “One of the things my mom always did is put the ricotta mixture in a plastic zip bag or piping bag,” he shares. “That way it goes right where you want it to go, and you don’t have to fight with it. It spreads quickly and evenly.”

The Pan

The chef says a 9 x 13-inch pan is the optimal size and shape for baking lasagna. “It keeps the ingredients condensed so the final product is nice and thick, versus each layer being spread thinly in a larger pan,” he says.

The Finish

There’s really no such thing as too much cheese, so Symon likes to grate fresh mozzarella and fresh parmesan on top to make it extra cheesy. “Another tip from my mom: always cover it with foil at the beginning of the cooking process, then remove it for the last 10 minutes to let the cheese on top get brown and crispy.”

Michael Symon’s Mom’s Lasagna

The Birthday Party

Birthday Girl

Every grandmother should have the opportunity to have a birthday part for their granddaughter.  It brings joy to all involved, but I didn’t realize is that it also brought stress.  (in a good way)

It had been about twenty or more years since I had a party for kids.  My sons are grown and in their thirties.  Back in the day it was very easy for me.  One of my sons was born the day before Halloween, so we had a scary ghost and dunk for apples, eat the donuts off the rope line, walk through the cardboard castle, filled cooked spaghetti worms, grape eyeballs and etc.  The other two sons were born in the summer, so we had outdoor scavenger hunts, big picnics at the park and always had a wonderful clown named Flutterby, who came with chicks and ducks.

My beautiful granddaughter, Claire has a birthday in December.  In Washington that means you either have a party in the house, or go somewhere like Chucky Cheese.  Being there is not Chucky Cheese close by, I volunteered to have it at my house.  Luckily Claire had been here most of the summer and made some friends at the local Boys and Girls Club.  I was worried about getting anyone to attend.

I love to entertain and usually find it quite easy; but to entertain a group of seven year olds, I was now out of my league.  I asked a former student for some advice and the director of the Boys and Girls Club and we came up with a plan.  I told my sons I was more worried about this than a dinner party with six courses, as it had been a long time since I had been around that many children.

So the plan came into being.  The party would be Saturday morning from 10 AM till 12 PM.  We would make personal pizzas, have a first floor scavenger hunt, play “Pin the Tail on the Donkey”, eat cake and ice cream and open presents.  By the day before we had nine children that were going to come.  I had baked a cake for the party and a cake for our more formal dinner at a restaurant.  I had party favors, had ordered the donkey game online, as no one sells it anymore, and made a scavenger hunt of funny stuff.

Pizzas went well, but I did not make enough red sauce.  My sons organized the lines and the cooking and getting the right pizza to the right person. My husband made Mimosas for the adults and everything actually went well.  The scavenger hunt started and I realized within minutes, they did not need twenty minutes to find everything and reset the timer to five more minutes.  Four of the nine found everything on the list, so there went my prizes.

Pin the tail on the donkey was next.  I learned that you had to put tape on each tail, as I seemed to have forgotten and having a solid mask was sort of important. One of parents handed me tape for each one.  The one that was closest to where the tail belongs got cake and ice cream first after Claire. It was her birthday and even though she did get the tail directly in the appropriate spot, we had to change the see-through blind fold.

Cake & ice cream was a breeze and even though I took the ice cream out too soon and it was pretty melted, it seemed to be eaten just fine.  Only had to wipe a little off the floor and luckily had enough chocolate milk containers for all.  As gifts were being opened, I thanked everyone for coming and for their gifts.

All that worry and it went quite well.  Claire had such a good time, she took a two hour nap (her choice) in the afternoon and then we all went out to dinner.  Then I came home and went to bed.  Tired Grandma!

The Birthday Party

SUNDAY NIGHT OR WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVERS

It’s Sunday night and weekend passed way too quickly.  The backyard had a lot of plants to cut back for winter and chickens are very funny, but very messy.  Time to clean up their mess before the rains come.

The Korean Beef Short Ribs became, as I told my husband, the meat eater: “Meat over Rice” and that was all he ate, as that was all i cooked.  I took some Butternut Squash soup out of the freezer and cut up the rolled pork loin with broccoli rabe adding it to the soup.  Put a little fresh Regianno Parmesano and you have a pretty tasty dinner and not wasted food.

The chickens got the left over Pea Salad and they were happy too.  It is a nice relaxing evening here at “Kingsley Manor”. Off to binge watch Poldark.

Beside dinner, I baked another Paul Hollywood’s Pain de Savoie for my husband’s office pot luck, designed an invitation for my granddaughter’s birthday party, wrote an article for a local magazine and caught up on my online class.  Grandma was pretty busy today.

SUNDAY NIGHT OR WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVERS

Just a nice Winter Meal

Short ribs

My husband loves “meat & potatoes”, so to make him happy I cook a lot more meat dishes than I would really like to eat.  I could eat fish and chicken seven days a week, but I do have to admit this meat dish was pretty good.  I would add a little more beef stock than the recipe suggested and maybe add a little white wine to tenderize the meat.  The recipe came from Cooking Light Magazine.  I would not really consider this a “light” dinner, but it was tasty.  The recipe was by Marianne Williams.

Oh, and do NOT touch your eye after chopping up the chili; as it is not a fun moment. 

Prep Time
20 Mins
Total Time
8 Hours 20 Mins
Yield
Serves 8 (serving size: 1 short rib and about 1/3 cup rice mixture)

The slow cooker makes a masterpiece of beef short ribs as the meat becomes buttery tender and the cooking liquid reduces to a spicy, deeply savory sauce. Sake, a dry rice wine, and mirin, a stronger, sweeter rice wine, balance each other here (the alcohol will cook off as the dish simmers). Both are available at most grocery stores. Spicy, tangy kimchi, or Korean-style fermented cabbage, adds heat and complexity to the dish.

Just a nice Winter Meal

Do Not Leave Your Glass on the Sink

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This is not my cat.  My cat is a big fluffy Siberian Forest Cat named Frostyman the Cat.  He is a beautiful boy, but he is everything a cat should be.  This morning I learned another lesson from Frosty.  Do NOT leave your water glass on the counter with water in it and go back and drink the water later.

I usually have a glass of water that I keep by the sink during the day with ice in it.  I am trying to drink a lot of water as I know it is good for you.

This morning when I came down to the kitchen there was my beautiful boy with his head totally immersed in my glass of water. Frosty

It made me wonder how long my cat and I had been sharing the same glass of water?

I have found in the past, if I leave food on the counter, it becomes “cat food”, no matter what it is.  I also found if I cover it with a clean dish towel, the cat has no interest in it.  He does not seem to have the where with all to remove the towel or maybe is lazy or maybe is just not smart enough.

Going forward, if I leave my water glass on the sink, I will cover it with a clean dish towel. If the towel is removed then I will know the cat shared my water and now it is his.

Moral:  The cat usually wins.

Do Not Leave Your Glass on the Sink

30 Design Mistakes You Should Never Make from Houzz

This article came on my newsfeed this morning and I thought it was very interesting.  While I agree with most, I do not agree with all. There are as many opinions about design as there are people with opinions. 

Drop the paint can, step away from the brick and read this remodeling advice from people who’ve been there

April 21, 2016
There are a million and one things to consider when taking on a remodeling project. Some of those decisions have the potential to significantly impact your home — and in turn your emotional well-being — for years to come. It doesn’t matter how functional your new kitchen is, for example, if you hate the flooring material you chose. It’s going to eat away at you every single day.

In hopes of preventing these situations, we asked readers for design advice on things you should never, ever do during a remodel. Their suggestions are quite revealing, and worth considering. But remember, the thing about advice is that you don’t have to take it. After all, the main takeaway message here should be that no matter what, it’s your home. And you should do whatever you want. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.

30 Design Mistakes You Should Never Make from Houzz

Oh where do find a Hat Box ???

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When I was young and thought I was quite fashion forward, I collected hats to wear with every outfit I had in my closet. We often attended the track at Del Mar, where we were members of the rather “elite” Turf Club. It was my late husbands favorite way to entertain and it was my favorite excuse for a new outfit with a matching hat. Even though I no longer have any of the dresses that go with the hats, I still have the hats.

I have loaned the hats out for several fashion shows over the years, as they have now become almost vintage, just like me.

I will never forget a few years ago, I dressed up as Marilyn Monroe for a Halloween Party, with the chiffon dress, gold heels and a beautiful mink coat my late husband bought for me when were going to move the Pacific North West.

Arriving at the party, someone asked me: “Where did you find that gorgeous vintage coat?”

I looked back at her and said: “Oh Shit, I am old!”

We all laughed, but that is a little how I feel about my hat collection.  Thirty-five years ago, I most likely paid well over $200 for each hat and at the time I had about forty of them. I still have about twenty and the boxes were starting to fade and fall apart.  I started looking on Amazon and Ebay, only to see that the price of Hat Boxes, like most other things had gone up.

The two hat boxes in the worst repair could use a new look. Straight edge, cutter, great glue, some nice wrapping paper and ribbon could save the day or at least two of the hat boxes.

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A little time and energy and they look like new. I found some of sewing supplies worked easily to make this happen. The straight edge used mostly by quilters, made it easy to cut a straight line and rolling scissors made it easy to cut a circle using the hat box as the pattern. On the polka dot one, I just repainted the edges with a magic marker, but on the striped one I had to add ribbon, as the edge was totally worn out.  I think it worked well.

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One of the boxes still had the price tag on the bottom and even that many years ago it was $25. They are far from perfect, but sure look a lot prettier in my closet than they did.

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The closet is a work in progress, but I think the repaired and new (found at TJMaxx) are a nice addition to closet.  I will post a few more photos of my closet and you will begin to see that I am a avid collector.  I love not only hats, but belts and shoes and what I call junk jewelry.  It will all have an organized place in my new aqua closet. I will share as it is completed.  Right now everything is in my bedroom.  Oh my!  IMG_6442

I figure a light aqua blue/green is a happy color and that is what I want to feel when I go in my closet.  Hope I might inspire you to reorganize and see what you can do to make your closet a happier part of your house.

 

Oh where do find a Hat Box ???

Who Wants What

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There was an interesting article in the Kitsap Herald this week called: “Who Wants What?” and other things in flux. The article talked about a family trying to figure out who got what when their parent or relative died. It is something that with the events of the summer has been on my mind. I realized what may be of value to us, can be of very little value to someone else. Just because we either received something wonderful as a gift or saved and bought it with our own money, means nothing to many people.

From the days when I lived a more urbane lifestyle I have a collection of beautiful crystal, china and silver. I became aware in the last few years that some younger people not only do not think of it as valuable, they disdain that I have not sold it for the money it would now bring. It is of no value to them. Several years ago, a new family member randomly took a glass from the cabinet to the beach, then left it over night on the arm of the chair by the fire pit, no knowing and not asking if it was okay. I don’t usually take my Waterford to the beach or leave it outside over night. That same visit another new family member used a couple Waterford crystal bowls to put chips on the picnic table just going into the pantry and taking the first thing they saw. Those bowls were a gift from my late husband that he bought as a surprise from a jewelry store going out of business. They fit in the lifestyle we had at the time. They are a fond memory of someone I loved and I don’t take them outside. I was informed I should sell these things and no one should keep glasses or bowls worth so much.

I started looking in to selling as I discussed in another article, but find it is no longer worth what I paid for it. So do you sell or enjoy?

As I approach my sixty-eighth birthday next week I have been pondering what will happen to all the “stuff” I have collected all my adult life. It seems the older I get, the less I want. I love the look of a perfectly clean clutter free countertop, but I do love the feel of drinking wine from a beautiful stemmed Riedel wineglass. For some reason scotch takes better to me in a heavy leaded crystal glass, so I think I will keep these as long as I can enjoy a little glass of something in the evening.

For twenty-five years I’ve moved two big boxes of Lionel Trains to different houses. This last year I offered them to my sons, thinking they would want them. Only one son wanted any of them and he only wanted the four oldest ones; so I sold the rest and lightened my moving load. I started asking my sons this summer, what if anything they might want. My oldest plays chess and wanted the ivory chess set his father bought forty years ago when he was in the military. My youngest said he would like toys from his father’s youth and his fishing rods; so he can have them any time.

And so it goes as I look around my home and wonder if they will want any of it when I am gone? I am thinking of making an excel spreadsheet list with all the good stuff, send it to each of them and see if anyone wants anything, then put the outcome in my will. I do want my own sons and no one else to be left what they want to have. I don’t want to add stress to their already busy lives, by having them have to deal with “stuff”, so I think I will donate what they do not want to a charity of my choice. I don’t want them arguing about “who gets what” or who or how do we sell all this stuff. I would rather see it donated to a good cause, rather than sold at some creepy garage sale like my brother insisted that we do with my mother’s belongings when she went in full time care.

When I go, I want to leave behind good memories and happy thoughts for my family, a few things they can pass on to their families and nothing more.

Who Wants What