osprey_archer: (snapshots)
A most successful hunt through the bookstores yesterday! Although amusingly I got the most books at a bookstore I had not realized existed: I stopped in the library for a drink of water, and there was the Friends of the Library bookstore, and I found TWO books there, hooray!

I also found a copy of E. Nesbit's The Railway Children, which I have long intended to read, in a Little Free Library, which is the first time I have found something I really wanted in a Little Free Library and marks an epoch in my life.

The Little Free Library! )

And eventually it grew too hot for traipsing from bookstore to bookstore, so I stopped at a cafe for a lemon bar and finished Strong Poison (v. much approve, have already started Have His Carcase, Peter has proposed to Harriet approximately five times including by telegram:

FOLLOWING RAZOR CLUE TO STAMFORD REFUSE RESEMBLE THRILLER HERO WHO HANGS ROUND HEROINE TO NEGLECT OF DUTY BUT WILL YOU MARRY ME - PETER

I feel that this persistence ought to be annoying but instead I find it weirdly charming.)

The cafe also had this delightful little door in the wall.

The fairy door )

I have always loved stories about tiny people who live in the walls. In fact when I was in kindergarten I invented a long one to amuse myself at school. The Paintwater Witches lived in the drains in the back of the classroom and used all the dirty paint water we poured down in their potions. Clearly the tiny people living in a cafe can expect far more gourmet fare!
osprey_archer: (tea)
We had some extra heavy cream left over, so I decided to try a new scone recipe - or rather an old scone recipe; my aunt's cream scone recipe, in fact. No butter, just flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and heavy cream, and you get tall and fluffy scones.

Also my roommate has an awesome wintery tea set. (The design is actual gray flowers, not snowflakes, but hey! Same diff.)





osprey_archer: (snapshots)
A couple of photos! On Thanksgiving, my dad and I drove over to the new buffalo reserve to see the buffalo... only the buffalo did not want to be seen. They couldn't be seen from any angle at the buffalo viewing area; they also couldn't be seen as we drove around the reserve. Finally, we saw another car stopped, and we also pulled up there and stood on the running board...

And there they were )

My roommate and I have been planning an herb garden for next spring. She's already got basil and rosemary (well, we'll need to replant next spring, but she's got places for them), and I wanted to add thyme - "And we could do parsley and sage too, and call it a Scarborough Fair garden," I joked.

And what should I find at Trader Joe's but... )

Cookies!

Nov. 13th, 2016 11:05 am
osprey_archer: (food)
Here are the Christmas cookies that I made for holiday launch:



No one could mistake them for professionally decorated cookies, but still I think they turned out nicely. I did the piping with DIY pastry bags made by snipping the corner off a Ziploc bag, which works pretty well; I got better at it as I went on. The mitten cookie off to the right with the pine tree piped onto it is one of my final efforts, and I think it shows a definite increase in control.

I enjoyed icing the cookies so much that I'm thinking I'll have a cookie decorating party with my friends as Christmas approaches. Who doesn't like making cookies look pretty? We can put on some Christmas music and really get in the spirit of things.

Walking

Oct. 25th, 2016 07:47 am
osprey_archer: (snapshots)
I walked to the library yesterday, which is rather a long walk and mostly alongside a busy street; but I found a couple of picturesque scenes along the way.

Like this Swing )

I also found this house, which looks like a throwback to the old days when this area must still have been farmland: here )

Mondays are my day off, so we made a rather fabulous dinner last night. For hors d'oeuvres we had slices of apples with honey and brie (I did not take a picture of these, because they were not visually very interesting, but they were delicious, highly recommended), and I also caramelized onions to put on bagel pizzas.

I caramelized only half an onion, and ended up putting all of it on the bagel pizzas. This was delicious, although it probably would have been better to caramelize a whole onion and save some for later.

The world's most loaded bagel pizza )
osprey_archer: (food)
I went to visit a couple of friends the other day, and left their house loaded down with cherry tomatoes and all their carbs (they are on one of their periodic low-carb diets again), which of course inspired me to exciting heights of cookery. I made roasted tomatoes! I have always wanted to roast tomatoes!

Perhaps next time I will roast them with garlic cloves so I can spread the sweet soft-baked cloves on toast. Hmmm.

Part of my haul included little pre-made Melba toasts, so I also made a sort of caprese appetizer thing with goat cheese and basil and cherry tomato halves. Delicious!



I have tomorrow off, and now that I've been bitten by the cooking bug I want to make something new & exciting. I have some bread that really needs to be used up, so I'm thinking fancy grilled cheese of some kind - I read a really interesting recipe once for grilled cheese with caramelized onions, and I've always wanted to caramelize an onion...

On the other hand, grilled cheese is so good and classic just like it is, maybe I shouldn't fuss with it? I went to a restaurant - this was such a disappointment; I'd been looking forward to this restaurant so much - and I got a grilled cheese sandwich with brie and blackberries, and the blackberries were still cool, and the brie was all runny (which is probably inevitable with a grilled cheese sandwich with brie; I should have realized beforehand) and in short it was a decidedly inferior grilled cheese.

On the other hand, if I've just caramelized the onions they will be hot and delicious. And they would go so well with sharp cheddar, don't you think?

And if I'm caramelizing onions in the first place, I really ought to do some extra and use them for dinner. I have all that goat cheese - I bought a big log - and we have basil and rosemary in the backyard - and I do have a bunch of apples... I'm sure I can manage something good.
osprey_archer: (snapshots)
Over the last couple of weeks since the move, I have accrued a certain number of photos of my new life, and of course I decided to SHARE.

I went for a long walk around the neighborhood to see what I could see; findings included a Russian deli, a New Age store and a Christian store standing almost cheek by jowl, and this This weeping willow tree )

On the same walk, I found this restaurant sign, in the most glorious handwriting )

Later on, Becky and I went for another long walk - Becky calls them "rambles," which I like - through the grand park out by her house. We found a hitherto-unsuspected natural history museum, a lakeshore path, and this confused owl )

A few days later, Becky and I convened for an autumn tea party )

In other food news, my family dropped by for dinner at our favorite Greek restaurant in Indianapolis, and of course my mother brought me a load of food for the apartment, including two enormous gorgeous peaches. Actually I was a bit worried about the peaches - no fruit, I felt, gets that large naturally - but they turned out to be delicious and perfectly ripened and glorious.

I grilled one of them )

Bell tower

Aug. 14th, 2016 10:10 pm
osprey_archer: (snapshots)
I took a long walk after dinner in the hope that it would help me sleep - we'll see - but either way, it netted me this beautiful photo of the bell tower at sunset, framed round in trees.

osprey_archer: (tea)
I have been quite the social butterfly this weekend! I went to Indianapolis to visit my friend Becky, and we watched Song of the Sea, which is a gorgeous Irish animated movie about a little girl who can become a selkie - only no one knows it at the beginning, and her big brother blames her for their mother's disappearance - and the movie is about their changing relationship and magical adventures, drawn in a style inspired by medieval Irish art and just beautiful. I highly recommend it.

And then the next day [livejournal.com profile] evelyn_b stopped by as part of her road trip! And we had a lovely time: we went to a Mediterranean restaurant and chatted about L. M. Montgomery and Laura Ingalls Wilder, then repaired a bookstore (where she managed to add approximately a dozen books to my to-read list, although I only actually bought two of them, on the grounds that I can probably find the others at the library... although we'll see. It occurs to me that Gormenghast and A Canticle for Liebowitz might both be old enough that the library may not have them, even though they are minor classics), and then repaired to my favorite local cafe.

Which! I discovered that day! Sells tea by the pot!

(I attempted to include a photo of the teapot, but LJ won't load it and anyway you all know what a teapot looks like.)

I have not seen tea sold in pots since I left England. I am very excited about this, even though a whole pot of tea is actually a bit much for me to drink in a sitting. Clearly I will need to drag people here specifically for the purpose of making them drink tea with me.
osprey_archer: (art)
My mother and I went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art today and had a rather marvelous time. We hadn't realized it beforehand, but the museum has a perfectly enchanting exhibition of Marie Webster's quilts (Marie Webster revolutionized American quilting in the early twentieth century).

My larger pictures didn't come out that well - it's hard to capture the detailed quilting in a photograph - but here's a close up of my favorite quilt in the exhibition, which Webster called the Magpie quilt because of it's black and white stripes:

The Magpie Quilt )

There were also some perfectly charming children's quilts: I particularly liked the one with little Kate Greenaway girls, their bonnets covering their faces, accompanied by the suggestion that such a quilt could be made with the remains of a little girl's dresses as a keepsake for her. But unfortunately I didn't get a photo of that one.

I did, however, get photos of this exhibition of Fashion through the ages )

We also popped by the contemporary art exhibition, on the grounds that there might be something interesting, although I must confess we were both rather doubtful on this score. And there were a few baffling pieces, but we also found some we quite like, like this Calder mobile )

And I also very much liked this Mobius Ship )
osprey_archer: (snapshots)
Some photos from my Chicago trip! I went to attend my friend Rachel's wedding shower, and I was worried about it beforehand because a) I didn't know most of the attendees, and b) I spent so much of last week so anxious about my possibly impending health problems; but actually I enjoyed it very much and I think getting away for a bit was good for me.

Cut for excursions into my health )

In any case! On to the photos!

Chicago yards )

The wedding shower had an amazing view of the city )

The shower lunch )

The next day, I had time to mosey downtown to the Art Institute of Chicago, which I love and enjoyed very much. They had an exhibit about American Art in the Thirties which I particularly wanted to see, and it did not disappoint; I liked the Edward Hopper paintings in particular, but probably my favorite painting in the exhibition was this one, Philip Guston's Bombardment )

Mother and child )
osprey_archer: (tea)
My Breaking Cat News mug arrived! Adorable mug picture below! )

The one problem with an all-white mug, I have discovered, is that tea stains the sides really swiftly and obviously, which I do not like. So in the future I will take care to purchase mugs with colored insides. But this fly in the ointment has not spoiled my love for my adorable cat mug; I have decided that it is to be my mug for my evening tea (which is not actually tea, but a tisane, Stash's Christmas in Paris tea). I like to have specific times and rituals for things.
osprey_archer: (snapshots)
I am returned from my trip! I had good times with many friends and ate lots of cake (in fact I have only included a picture of only one of the cakes, so as not to overwhelm you with cake envy) and took lots of beautiful pictures.

Here's one of me, all dressed up for the wedding )

And here is the most beautiful of the many cakes! )

The next morning, Caitlin and I went on an expedition! And we found this Little Free Library )

We had a delightful time in Nashville! (This is the weird little artists' colony in southern Indiana, not Nasvhille Tennessee.) I stocked up on socks and bought some charming cards, and we also found This adorable cat )

And we ate lunch at a restaurant that offered a bourbon bacon brownie as a dessert. What could we do? Of course we had to try it. And of course it was delicious, although in fact I think the bacon is mostly a gimmick and the true flavor workhouse was the salted caramel drizzle on top, which was AMAZING.
osprey_archer: (snapshots)
It's been a beautiful few days, so I've gone walking with my camera to take in the last of spring. I know some people complain that the modern habit of snapping photos all the time takes us out of the moment, and perhaps this is true for people who already walk around in blissful communion with their surroundings. But I am apt to walk around in a haze of daydream, and having a camera in my hand (or, at this point, my phone; absolutely the best part of my smartphone is its camera) reminds me to pay attention to what's at hand.

Lily of the valley )

The urn )

The tulip in the wild lawn )

Puppy!

Apr. 16th, 2016 01:45 pm
osprey_archer: (snapshots)
We had the CUTEST PUPPY come into work the other day, oh my God. Normally dogs aren't even supposed to come in unless they're service dogs, but then again any puppy this adorable is clearly performing a service, and that service is "filling the hearts of all humankind with joy."



LOOK AT HIM. LOOK AT THE WHIPPED CREAM ON HIS NOSE, LOOK AT HIS SOFT DARK EYES. SO ADORABLE.
osprey_archer: (art)
Tomorrow is Easter! And so today became egg-dyeing day. I hard-boiled the eggs in the morning (one of them came apart a bit in the water, but otherwise the operation was successful), and dyed them in the evening.

The egg dyeing station )

I got a bit tired with just dropping them in dye baths, and the crayon method of decoration wasn't working - maybe if I pushed harder with the crayon so the wax spread more evenly? I think the crayon wax might just be too hard - and I remembered [livejournal.com profile] asakiyume mentioning painting with food coloring. Cookies, I think, not eggs, but the principle is the same, so I got out some toothpicks and daubed dots and lines of food coloring gently onto the eggs.

The decorated eggs )

As you can see, my control over the technique is not that great: the lines are wobbly, the dots inclined to turn into little lines. I'd like to practice more. I suppose there's nothing saying you have to confine your egg dyeing to Easter...

A close-up on one of my favorites. Check out that star! )

Crocuses!

Mar. 8th, 2016 08:06 pm
osprey_archer: (snapshots)
Spring is here! The crocuses are in bloom!

osprey_archer: (snapshots)
I'm working on this whole uploading pictures from my phone thing. For right now, have a photo of the chocolate lava cake that Caitlin and I baked this Saturday. (There were actually two of them, one for each of us. Or else there might have been a duel over the last bite.)

osprey_archer: (snapshots)
I have, quite belatedly, gotten a bunch of photos from 2015 (and...2014) off my camera onto my computer, so I thought I'd share a few.

The Chicago skyline from Lincoln Park. I like the scalloped clouds )

A Little Free Library! )

The Rapunzel Look )
osprey_archer: (food)
Autumn photos! Well, one at the very beginning of autumn, with only a few yellow leaves, and two others with a little higher autumn color.

The covered bridge )

Autumn tea )

The trail through the park )

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