Monday, March 10, 2014

Is it Spring yet?

                                  

Hello friends! Yes it's been awhile, that's for sure. Our winter has been way too long for my taste, but the last couple of weekends we've had some nice weather finally , and I can see Spring around the corner! It can't get here soon enough though. :)

 The best thing to do while waiting for the lush green grass and buds to sprout , is keep busy preparing for it...  That's exactly what I've been doing ;) Preparing. 


                            

I've been busy in the mini kitchen baking up lots of sweets for a Bakery I'm working on for the Spring issue of Mini-ologie. And here's a little peek of some "fresh from the oven" cakes that will line the counters. 


                               

I've also been working on a little kitchen with a laundry room. (ps: Thank you Diane Melcher!)

                        

I've been trying my hand at a few new techniques also. Some of my mini cakes will be a smooth dense surface and others will be flaky , deep with delicious buttery moistness like below. I call it the Duncan Hines look ;) 

                       

This is my little inspiration board for the Bakery below... It'll have some of the aspects of a favorite bakery of mine. Sweet Melissa's. Which closed it's doors in Brooklyn, but still has a website. I sure do miss walking in there! 


                         

I've also been playing with air-dry clay (below) and Copic and Distress markers. It's been so much fun learning new ways to design miniature food! I love experimenting and playing scientist. I never want to stop learning because to me, that's half the fun. I'm not sure I'd switch over from polymer to air dry clay, but it's fun for certain items. 

                         

                               Well the past month hasn't been all about minis. It's been about finding time to be good to myself and get as healthy for the new year as I can.  I've always appreciated good wholesome food , with little processed food in my diet. But now, I've taken it a step further by switching over to all organic , very plant based , much less meat, etc way of eating. I love my pies /sweets as most of you know, lol, but there is room for everything if cooked and baked with my health in mind. I've grown to love a daily green shake, fresh whole organic milk, and so many amazing new foods. So far my body has thanked me by shedding 20 pounds (that I've wanted off for years lol) and it's like my insides are much happier. :) Which btw, over the winter, I was sick so often with one thing or another, that I did this diet/lifestyle turn-around just to finally get well! So it was sort of by default, lol, but however I got here it was worth it and I've never felt better. 

As a miniature artist, a lot of time is spent on creating and sculpting and I'm afraid I wasn't balancing that with enough exercise throughout the day, so now my running shoes have a lot more worn out treads on them and that's been a great change for me. It's great to love working on miniatures, but I've got to remember to make myself a priority too! 

Be good to you!! ;) 


                                      

Here are a few photos of some delicious and healthy foods I've fallen in love with. I plan on starting a recipe collection and tips board on Pinterest, so stay tuned if you'd like some great ideas for meals, organic gardening, and easy life changing ideas. Who can refuse a chicken pot pie that is guilt free?! Or how great is it to learn that whole milk is allowed in a healthy diet? I was so used to skim milk, I actually didn't think I'd love "whole" again, or even want to drink it. I'm not even a big milk person, but it's just delicious! And of course, being a vintage style loving girl, who doesn't love an old fashioned milk bottle? ;) Honestly, milk tastes better by a mile when in glass! 

                                  

I spent a little time enjoying our local farm markets this weekend. I was actually out shopping for seeds for my garden this Spring, but I got very side tracked at a new farmers market on Long Island.  I loved that I didn't have to drive out east on the island to get there either,  it was practically right around the corner! 

Thank you Kerber's Farm , for having such a fabulous bakery filled with fresh baked beauties and the best apple crumb pie (and gluten free to boot) that I've ever eaten! (and that's including a regular flour based one!).

Here's a little tour... I can only imagine how great it'll be when your garden vegetable shop is filled , and the flowers are blooming! I'll be back often! 


                                    

They also sell wonderful kitchen accessories too!!


                                    

                                    

And of course, I can't wait till your cases are filled with fresh eggs daily. I hope they start over flowing soon, or I might have to start raising chickens myself  :).   I say that with a giggle , but honestly, I've been researching chickens a lot this week.  I found out my township allows up to 8 in our backyard, so I got all excited and I've been trying to convince Mr. Cottage that they will fit right in! If anyone has "raising chickens in suburbia"  tips or thoughts, I'd love to hear! 

                    

I wanted to bring home this salvaged door from Kerbers with me, perfect as a kitchen island or coffee table! ;) 

                                

                               

                               

I stocked up on some delicious Jams, homemade sweets , and just had such a nice time visiting this sweet little farm. 

                               

                               

                               

After our visit, my girl gang (Mom and Melanie) and our driver (Mr. Cottage) were off to get what we came out for.... Garden goodies: Seeds, books, ideas, and fresh veggies from another local farm: Makinajian's. 

I love this place too! And being that we've only had pockets of 50+ degree days here and there, when it's nice out, you've got to keep going lol! 

                             

I'm hoping when I'm all finished "preparing" for Spring/Summer, the end result will be something like this kitchen garden photo below. (Ellen Ecker Ogden- The Complete Kitchen Garden book

                                     

One of each below....and more inside   :) 


                               

But for now, it's veggies from the market.... 

                                

                                

So while the snow keeps melting..... you'll find me reading garden books, researching backyard chickens, making miniatures and scenes for Spring Mini-ologie and .... last but not least..  Eating a tiny slice of healthy pie :) 

                   

I hope the beginning of Spring is coming your way too!

Oops, I almost forgot... I also got rid of my non-stick cookware this winter. I've cooked with both iron and non stick for as long as I've been cooking, but now I've decided to go to all Iron. Food just tastes so much better cooked the old fashioned way, not to mention how much healthier cooking in 
Cast iron is! If you haven't tried it yet, I highly reccomend it! 

                    

I couldn't resist a little lamb cookie cutter when I ordered my new pan set. :) 

                    

                          I wish you all ...a beautiful , charming , and healthy week ahead! 

                      

"Enjoy the simple things..... like the quiet time of day when the sun streams onto the kitchen counter, and the smell of Spring is in the morning air".

Hugs and love, 

Cynthia x0 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Staying warm in January

                      

I know I'm not the only one with a case of cabin fever these days due to the record low temperatures this winter. So after being sick for a few weeks I'm doing my very best to keep warm and busy, it's a bit of a challenge with the "busy" part this winter because I'm more apt to want to read a good book under a cozy throw or find a movie with Melanie (home for winter break from college) and escape a bit. I have a feeling my sweet daughter would find more thrills back in her "home away from home" NYC dorm life than here for sure, but hopefully in a couple weeks I'll feel a hint of Spring and feel rejuvenated. I'm hopeful ;) I wish so hard for the first couple magical snowfalls and then admittedly, I am done. Onto the next breath of fresh air and season ahead.  In the meantime, I did get a little bit accomplished this January. Very little though..... ;) 

                              
                                  


A few sweet miniatures made for an upcoming bakery project....


                             

I decided to make curtain/shades (above) for the bakery windows from cotton burlap and they made me smile ;)


                                   

A few warm nights by a fire with movies on....and a couple days were spent making homemade soap with Mel. I loved this easy and rewarding craft project! Thanks to a Pinterest search: "Homemade goats milk soap" and we were off and running ;) I also enjoyed another great escape... A little retail therapy. Again, I didn't have to go too far on the snow packed roads, but instead, right to Susan Branch's online shop. I've wanted these sweet lambs below for awhile for the mantel and I finally treated myself to them. Aren't they wonderful? Every time I look at them, I think of the sweet Spring ahead! 

                        

Because of all our snow lately and beyond freezing temps, it's harder getting motivated to get out and about. But I was ready with my new Hunter boots when they were called for... I love Hunter! And I was happy I had some nice shopping excursions to wear them out and about besides walking around the slushy town.  Melanie and I love this antique and reproduction shop a few miles away and it was a nice escape for a day. 

                                     

I would like one of everything! ;) I picked myself up some treats, but I also get so many ideas for minis when I'm out too.... 

                                      

Love this... 

                                       

I bought this candle too , it smells like the ocean and is perfect for a sensory vacation in the middle of winter. This is how I'll get through the cold, pretend pretend pretend!! :)

                                       

Green depression glass Celtic S&P shakers came home with me too... 

                                       

Now it's time to focus on the beautiful season ahead for me... Hurry Spring! Hmmm, but it's not even February you say!?! Yes lol, I know, but because I do have to work on the Spring issue of Mini-ologie, I luckily will be living in that frame of mind. ;) 

Dreaming of roses, Spring flowers, light colors, shabby loved pieces, delicious sweet bakeries, and magical beautiful things from real life into miniature forms for everyone to see! 

                                     

I hope your winter is finding you in less snow than we have, and warmer temperatures than here! If not, you're not alone, so let's hang in there together!!  A little trip to the book store helps a bit too, I gathered up some Spring inspiration there and this one below was just the perfect one for me! I think you'll love it too! 

                                        


Hugs and love sweet friends!! xox

Cynthia 











     




Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Welcome 2014!



What a busy holiday season it's been! But , it's time to ring in the New Year! Welcome 2014! 

I've not been a big one on resolutions in the past, but I made a list for 2014 and I'm aiming to keep up on it ;). Do you make resolutions or yearly goal lists? Some of mine are: Try a new activity and teach myself something new each month, reach a higher fitness and healthy eating level, more outdoor activities, less technology (lol, except for blogging, FB check-ins, and Instagram) , oops, I can see I have to work on that one. But, I love keeping up so why take away a good thing? (Ok, scratch that!). Most of all, this coming year, I want to be the best person to my self, my family and my friends. There will also be lots of mini creating, magazine editing, and reaching out to a bigger world. As an artist, for me, sometimes focusing on your art all day leaves little time for the big giant world, so I plan on jumping into a few new ventures and fun things this year! 

I wish you a beautiful, magical, healthy and blessed New Year ahead! xo! 

Hugs and Love,  Cynthia 


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Cottage Style Kitchen


This Cottage Style Kitchen is my "real" kitchen. I know , lol, its been a long time since I posted about a life size kitchen. But this blog is my little journal and this is what's new and happening this month. I get very "nesty" during the holidays and I'm on a couple week break from mini making because there will be lots of company coming, and entertaining to do in a week or so, so it was time for a little update in the real home :)

As some of you know, I really loved my kitchen the other way too, but it was feeling a bit old or maybe I should say it was really time for an update. I had the floral rose cottage wallpaper in here for 15 years, and while I loved it and love the color blue, I wanted something very simple, very vintage and lots of white with natural wood tones for a change.

After the holidays I plan on adding lots of fresh pink roses and greenery from a beautiful set of topiary's I've ordered, but for now , this will do till I finish the final details after the holidays.... If you haven't toured a real kitchen from me in a long time, hold on to your hats, lol, there's a lot of pics. I hope you enjoy!


Before:


After's:



Everything received a wash of Crisp Linen White and soft Cookie Creams...And a new pair of curtains in a beige burlap fabric was just what it needed :) I also stripped the kitchen farm table and brought it back to it's natural wood tone, leaving the base white as I wasn't about to tackle that one :) Luckily that was the look I wanted anyway.
 



I wanted everything in different versions of cream and white, and I re-used all my vintage inspired pieces and favorite things..A new bakery light fixture was a must have. A perfect companion to my "Every Day is a Holiday" cupcake sign. Jenny is fabulous!


These little mini Christmas trees are here for the holidays, I love scent they have, it's a strong pine and perfect for time by the sink..


I did pick up a few new accessories , I needed to fulfill my love of cutting boards and this sweet little (but very heavy) blackboard was perfect for my other love: cheese :)


I love the simple curtains from France, they have always been a favorite of mine...So I decided this time to use them on the dutch door.


I spy.... a reflection of my Christmas tree :)


I've had these handmade plates from Italy for years now, and now they get front in center in the hutch because they were a wonderful soft cream...



This wall was painted too and I a put a few Aprons from my collection away, so it's a bit less cluttered.
 


The antique hutch on the other wall was filled with colorful pottery and such , but now it's holding a few cookbooks and  mostly white pottery and some great new cutting boards. 




This cutting board below is a favorite of mine, it's from a tree in Vermont and cut to order, so it holds front and center :)


A Little peek at the tree , I'm working on finishing a Christmas post so for now this will do :)
I added white barn doors to a wall that hides an AC, so that most of the time I get to look at pretty doors instead :)



This was my big project and it's still not finished. We replaced the faux fireplace with a Bio-fuel one and I cannot tell you how lovely it is to sit by a real fire!  It crackles, has gorgeous real flames, and gives off perfect heat. And yet, best of all it's vent-less! I wanted the fireplace to go on this wall and it would be impossible to have a chimney here, so this is just what I needed. 


I've got to finish decorating the hearth for Christmas (with a birch log set I'm waiting for) but this is it so far..
I've also ordered a few "mossy" things for the mantel, and a pair of amazing cast iron Sheep from Susan Branch , and then it will me complete.


The above photo is a picture of 2 of my favorite photographs from my childhood. The bottom one is a picture my Father took of my Mother and I on the beach, she's kissing me :) I adore this so much! Having his photos around is so soothing to me. We miss him so much , but all his photos surround me and knowing he's watching over us, makes me happy. The one above it always hung in my house growing up, it's of my Dad as a boy , with his first dog Rex. I adore it. I'm a lover of black and white photography so I was so happy to use these again and over the mantel is the best place to see them every day.



                                 
                              
                               This lamp needed a little pick me up, so I found a fabulous burlap shade.


I hope you enjoyed my little tour. I'm working on the family room that is attached to this kitchen, so as soon as that's complete I'll post pics :) Now it's off to get some Christmas shopping done, and catch up on the day!

Opps, btw, one more thing: If you haven't noticed, I've taken the "less is more" approach to just about everything in my life lol, the blog got a little make-over last week too,and I've added a Pinterest side button , so if you have one or would like to follow me there, come on over! That's about the only thing I've "added" to my less is more life :) But oh my word, it's fun!

Well, from my kitchen to yours, have a happy day friends!!


Big hugs, love and blessings to you through out this Holiday Season!! xox

Cynthia xo