Wednesday, May 17, 2017

quite a bit has happened in two weeks

My last post, two weeks ago showed a picture of our latest snowfall.  That snow only lasted the better part of the day and was gone by evening.  Since that we have had the couple of 85 degree days.  Quite a change.

The newest growing space that I have is a huge garden that was created several years ago.  To say that it is a challenge would be an understatement.  It was created in an area that was a lawn and for a short time fenced as a pasture.  Grass, weeds and alfalfa were dug under at the onset and it  has been coming back ever since.

It was tilled up in the fall and the second year was our first crop year.  The following year the deer found our garden and last year we put up a deer fence that ended up being woefully inadequate for the amount of wind that we have.  I spent much of my time trying to reinforce the plastic posts that came with the system with metal T posts.  By spring of this year the plastic posts and even some of the metal ones were bent or broken and the mesh, which held up really well and was still attached to said posts was in disarray.  In the meantime last years crop was a disaster.  The deer seemed to stay away after the fence was installed but it really didn't deter the rabbits.  The weeds came.  And came.  And came.

Fast forward to Spring 2017.  My bunch came on two weekends, some on the weekend prior and some on Mother's Day weekend to apply landscape fabric.  The landscape fabric was a mother's day and birthday gift.  It is part of a new plan to try to kill off the weeds and prevent their regrowth.  So far we are planning a three pronged approach.  We will use tarps and heavy plastic on the bare ground when no crops are present, landscape fabric when the crops are planted and then that will be picked up and cover crops planted for late fall.  The tarps will then be used to smother the cover crop and keep the beds covered over the winter.

The other thing that happened is that a plan was made to replace the flimsy plastic posts and their ineffective reinforcements with wood posts.  Last night 18 post holes were dug by Robb who borrowed his dad's post hole auger and I am hoping a trip to the lumber yard today will have me doing fence repair and then planting crops very soon.  In the pictures below the landscape fabric is in the foreground and black plastic and tarps to the rear.  When I built the permanent raised rows my spacing was inconsistent so in order to keep the fabric centered over my rows some of the gaps is taken up by a band of paper grocery sacks so that the garden is completely covered in those spots.  Of course we are not nearly done but I am hoping to get the fence repaired, plant the fabric covered areas and keep advancing across the garden.  I may have a temporarily smaller garden while I work my way across but I am okay with that. 
1st weekend progress.  Thanks Nikole and Brad
2nd weekend progress.  Thanks Nathan, Michelle and Caitlin

Robb digging post holes.  Thanks Robb.
While the Mother's Day bunch was here we were able to get the farmstand to the end of the driveway and put out some surplus plants for sale.  Caitlin and Michelle  made some signs to place on the edge of the highway that passes by the farmstand and pictures were posted by Nikole to facebook and a Craig's list notice was placed by Nathan to let people know who don't happen to be driving past.  So far we have had a few sales.

I have a second garden space which is a small group of raised beds surrounded by a fence that I refer to as the potager.  Some of those beds have been weeded and planted.  I have more to do but it is good to get something in the ground. 

The weather has been dry so it has allowed the top of the soil to dry out but we got some rain and more is predicted.  That should buy me some time to allow me a chance to get the irrigation hoses set up for watering in the big garden before there is a need to water.  Lots to do.  And I think it is time to mow again. 

The ornamental flowering tree that was a gift from Nikole a few years back hoping that it would be blooming on Mother's day did not disappoint.
The lilac and lily of the valley are perfuming the yard so it is a joy to work outside. 

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, May 1, 2017

my dandelion field today


Yesterday I shared a picture of my front yard where I had collected the dandelions for jelly.  Today that area which was green and yellow is white.  Gotta love Minnesota weather. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

on my other blog...

Today at Farmstand Cookbook I shared a recipe for dandelion jelly.  It can be found here  or on my sidebar.   It was fun and very tasty.  Pretty golden color, looks like honey and kind of tastes like it too.

 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Tomatoes

Spring is getting closer.  Our zone 4 last frost date is still 3-4 weeks away but the grass is green, the first of the perennials are coming up  and the trees are staring to leaf out.  Much of the next few days have overnight temps yet in the low 30s.   I have mowed once and I have been spending some time in the greenhouse working with the vegetable plants--transplanting and haircuts.  I am pleased with their progress.  We have not had a lot of really sunny days so it has been a blessing not having to try and cool the greenhouse so as to not cook the plants.
9 varieties of tomato plants
herbs

the sage is blooming
 It will soon be time to get the farmstand down to the end of the driveway to try and sell some of the surplus plants. 

I love spring.
.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

a tablescape mystery item?

Last week when my sister was thrifting without me she found this fun rack with six small covered ramekins.  They were white and she knows my penchant for small white dishes especially and white dishes in general.  So she grabbed it up and I set about researching it as to its use.

It has a chrome rack with a folding handle.  The ramekins hold 1/4 cup.  The rack holds them up off the table about 1/4 to 3/8 inches.  The covers rest on the lip but do not fasten.  Both the ramekins and the cute covers have raised fluting. Were they used for cooking something?  I tried to think of what I could cook in them that a quarter cup serving would be  the right amount for.  I had recently been making pot de cremes but it seemed small for that.  Was the rack with the handle for lifting the collection out of a water bath?  I had heard about but never cooked coddled eggs.  A quick google search for egg coddlers showed a similarly sized container but one with a screwed on metal lid.  None with a rack and none that matched my little cuties.  

 It kind of reminded me of the marsala dabba that I found a few weeks ago.

When the marsala dabba showed up at Goodwill it was something that I had not seen before but it had markings on the side so I was able to google it.  It holds Indian spices.  My new ramekins were not marked in any fashion.  I googled ceramic spice containers and found many sets of little dishes, many with covers and some with covers with a notched out area that held a tiny spoon.  Mine did not come with notches or tiny spoons.  Many of them were pairs or three matching pots on a rack or wood tray.  Some were called spice jars, some condiment jars.  There were none that are exactly like mine.

I may never know what their intended purpose was or how they were marketed and sold but I might give coddled eggs a try.  I am not into exotic spices yet and if I were I have that dabba to hold them.  As often happens I fully expect that when I quit looking for them I will discover their purpose.  Until then they will dress up my collection. 

Joining Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch here.
 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

yum

I don't know about where you live but in my neck of the woods there is a short window of time in late winter/early spring when Meyer lemons show up in our local produce sections.  I have been watching for them because awhile back I saw a recipe for a Meyer lemon margarita on the web.  It was a Rick Bayless recipe and it looked doable and good.  I don't drink a lot of margaritas but it is almost required, to my thinking, when at a Mexican restaurant.  Even then I usually choose a fruity, kind of sweet margarita.  (Peach is one of my favorites).  I am not really much of a tequila drinker aside from a shot of Don Julio in memory of my brother a couple of times a year. I was eager to try this recipe.

This year when the Meyer lemons were spotted I bought four bags and a bottle of tequila.  I only needed two but I also have the extras soaking in Everclear to make a batch of limoncello.  That post won't be written for another four weeks.

To make Rick's margarita the tequila is infused for four days with the lemon peel and then strained.  The simple syrup is cooked with additional Meyer lemon peel to infuse the syrup.  The Meyer lemon juice is collected for the third part of the recipe.  When the family was together at my mom's for Easter some of us  had a batch of margaritas.  It is made by the pitcher so it couldn't be easier.  Our ingredients were refrigerated and we poured it over ice to serve.  It had a strong tequila presence and was a little less sweet than I am used to but boy was it yummy.  It was easy to do and I tried to make it easier since I would be taking everything along.  When I had finished straining the tequila I poured it back into the bottle.  It would make two pitchers.  When I was done making the simple syrup I measured out the amount that I would need for a pitcher and placed it in small canning jars in the freezer.  I also measured out the juice and put the right amount for a pitcher in another canning jar.  When I headed into Mom's I grabbed the tequila, two jars of frozen infused simple syrup, and two jars of frozen lemon juice.  By the time it was time to throw together the drinks the frozen parts were still partially frozen and made for an icy drink when mixed together and poured over ice cubes.  

no ice in this picture but pretty yellow color
 Rick Bayless' recipe can be found here.

Cheers!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

ooh la la French desserts

When my favorite thrift/estate store had a big sale in preparation for moving one of my treasures purchased was a stack of cookbooks.  I already have many, many cookbooks so I patiently poked thru their selections and grabbed several that I didn't already have.  Included in my choices was a small paperback book called Simple French Desserts that had been published in 2000..  I love all things kitchen related so many of the tools and dishes needed for these desserts were things that I had already been collecting.  I have individual souffle dishes, individual tart dishes  for creme brulee, other small dishes suitable for pots de creme and I had recently found a coeur a la creme mold and a kitchen torch.  I was set to go.

I didn't make the souffle, that will be for next time.  But this weekend provided a couple of opportunities for trying other recipes from the book.  On Saturday my brother was visiting at my parents and so we got together for supper.  My sister and her daughter and daughter's boyfriend joined us and I brought creme brulee for dessert.

On Sunday my son and his girlfriend were visiting and we got together at my parents' house again for dinner and this time I brought two versions of pots de creme, one chocolate and one coffee.

I did also make a coeur a la creme but it needed to drain for 24 hours so it wasn't ready for the weekend due to my not planning ahead. I also decided that since many of the dishes required separated eggs and I had whites left over that it was a good time to make another French goodie, macarons, with the whites.   Once I had a refrigerator stocked with the extra desserts it only made sense to arrange them on a tray and take a couple of pictures.


None of the dishes were particularly difficult but they did involve several steps and seemed to create a mountain of dirty dishes.  The pots de creme and the creme brulee are essentially custards and so they require egg yolks to be separated from the whites and beaten with sugar, cream that is heated, then strained, and then mixed with yolks and then once poured into the little individual dishes they are baked in the oven in a bain marie or water bath. They were served with creme Chantilly, a sweetened whipped cream.  The coeur a la creme required both whipped cream and whipped egg whites and the macarons, whipped egg whites.  My mixer got a work out. I must have washed that bowl and beater five or six times.  For the chocolate pots de creme the heated cream was poured over chocolate to melt it.  For the cafe au lait pots de creme the broken coffee beans were steeped in the hot cream to infuse the cream with a coffee flavor and then strained before mixing with the eggs.
creme brulee

crunchy sugar topping

cafe au lait in an espresso cup

cafe au lait, creamy coffee color

pot de creme

coeur a la creme with blackberry coulis

tasted good but difficult to serve prettily

macarons with meyer lemon buttercream

I love fussy cooking so this was right up my alley.     

 

Not exactly a tablescape but still joining BNOTP for Tablescape Thursday here.

Monday, March 27, 2017

farm update

The farm has been kind of busy the past weeks with lots of stuff going on.

It is maple sap season 

The weather is kind of sporadic so when the conditions are right, not too cold or not too warm, the sap is running.  There has been a lot of windy weather and  couple of times the wind has blown the buckets off the tree.  It is a small operation, I only have two trees, but this year I added two more buckets and taps which has doubled my capacity.  Since I have read that it takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup, I probably won't end up with more than a couple of pints of syrup but it is fun.

The winter greenhouse

The winter greenhouse is winding down and switching over to the spring season.  One experiment that I tried was last spring I bought a hanging basket that contained some strawberry plants.  The plan was that after spending the summer outside we would try to overwinter it in the greenhouse.  A few weeks ago I was pleased to see that it was flowering.

 and now it has one small white strawberry that is just starting to ripen.
  It doesn't look like much yet but I am encouraged to try more baskets next winter.  I have quite a bit of room for hanging baskets and some empty baskets.  Rather than buying them already planted at the nursery I will pot them up myself.

I also overwintered my rosemary and sage.  Some of my rosemary has been blooming for a while now.  These plants are two years old.  We started them from seed to be used on the tables at my daughter's and son-in-law's wedding party last summer..

The spring greenhouse

It is that time when the greenhouse gets too warm for winter greens and the plants bolt, turn bitter and go to seed.  It is also the time that the seedlings that I have started under lights in the basement are ready for transplanting from the trays that they were started in to their first pot, usually a red solo cup.  Since the bigger pots take up a lot more room as they are potted I have been gradually moving them to the greenhouse.  There have been some cold nights so I am back to running the milkhouse heater some nights but they seem to be doing well.
I started with tomatoes, peppers and herbs.  Now that more of them are moved outside I have been starting some of the other crops.  It has been damp and cloudy.  We are a ways away from the ground being ready for even early cold hardy crops much less tomatoes and peppers so they have some time to get bigger.

I am joining BNOTP for Met Monday here.
   








Sunday, March 26, 2017

A fun project for a sad reason

My sister has been involved in a benefit for a young man who has cancer.  She is donating items for the silent auction.  The young man and his family are involved in rodeo so quite a few of the people expected to come to the benefit are 'horse folks' so she decided to do something horse related and we collected recipes for homemade horse treats.  She did the baking and I crafted  labels for her to tie onto the bags of treats.  I followed her theme and created labels that were a cowboy hat with the ingredients of the different treats listed on the back.  She made three baskets.  Here is one.
 Each basket included identical contents.  She made seven different treat recipes.  A clear bag held each treat and they were tied with a raffia bow and a cowboy hat tag was added to provide the name of the treat and a list of the ingredients used on the back.  A cute striped placemat lined the basket and a couple carrots and an apple rounded out the treats. 
The cowboy hat tag fronts and backs were cut on the cricut and assembled.  Each hat was made from six different card stocks.
 
She also made up baskets that held homemade cake donuts that were made by our parents.  Those baskets included two coffee cups and a selection of K cups including one called Donut Shoppe.  I also made tags for those baskets which were tied to one of the cups.  These tags resembled a disposable cup with a frosted donut along side.
Her kitties were very interested...
The benefit is raising money for a man in his early 30s who is fighting cancer for the second time.  His situation is not good and hopefully the money raised will help he and his new bride financially as well as letting them know that a concerned community is supporting them emotionally as well.

I am joining BNOTP for Met Monday here.


 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

a little garden start

Today I was reading that warm weather in February can mean an early spring.  We are having a mild stretch.  Yesterday and today it was 60 and I think that a few more nice days are predicted before it cools off again and there is the potential for more snow.  Our last frost date for our zone is the third week in May.  I have been slowly working into the seed starting routine.  Last year I saved some seeds and purchased larger packets of others hoping to have quite a few seed varieties that wouldn't need to be ordered new.  So before I start whole flats of different seeds I am starting small amounts of them to check on their germination potential.  Then once I know what I have that is usable I will know what I need to order.  It was good to get everything set up, the heat mat out and the lights plugged in and working.  It is a good feeling.  So far I have some baby seedlings breaking thru the soil mix surface so I am encouraged by that.

The other thing that I am doing is getting ready for my second season of maple sap collecting and syrup making.  Last year I tentatively tried tapping one of my maple trees.  To be honest, I had never considered tapping the trees until the spring before when sap was dripping from some places high in the tree where we  had had some branches cut the previous fall.  I could hear it dripping on the ground.  So I bought one tap, bucket and cover and when that worked I bought a second.  I have two large maple trees in my yard, not sugar maples but they will work for making syrup.  My trees are large enough that they are supposed to be able to handle more than one tap and so today I bought two more taps, buckets and covers so this year I will double hopefully double my yields.  There is a magic formula of certain warm daytime temperatures and certain cooler overnight temperatures that stimulate the sap to move and I am not sure if the current temperature pattern is right but if it is I will be ready. 

A picture from last year.


Farm update

The warm weather has had some definite effects that I am grateful for.  The herd's water is staying thawed and I am glad to not have to fight with that morning and evening.  My yard and especially the area that I walk to the barn has been a sheet of ice and much of that has melted so it is a little safer.

I have also not had to run the little milkhouse heaters in the winter greenhouse for over a week.  This has been kind of a disappointing season for the winter greenhouse.  The cloudy winter has really negatively impacted the growth of the greens but also the lack of sun has not helped to  warmed up the greenhouse. On a sunny day the greenhouse will warm up to over 100+ degrees and then it will cool off somewhat slowly overnight.  Most of the days this winter the greenhouse was lucky to have a daytime temp in the 60s or 70.  Then it would cool off more quickly and need supplemental heat during the night.  We have not had more than a handful of those sunny days this winter.

As an experiment we tried overwintering some potted ferns of my sister's patio and a potted ghost pepper of Cait and Robb's both of which did not make it thru a frigid spell earlier this winter when it was really cold ( I want to say -20+ for 36 straight hours but don't quote me) and the greenhouse dropped to 28 degrees and it was enough below freezing to kill them.  My other experiment, a potted strawberry plant had a lot of brown leaves but now is having some new green growth.  We will see if it flowers and produces strawberries.  My hope was that it would fruit during the winter but even if we can get earlier berries in the spring that would be great.  I think next year I will try a few more.  I have room to hang quite a few and quite a few hanging baskets so I think that I will try a few more next year.

Our deer fence took a hit.  The first snow left the poles bent in half or leaning.  The plastic mesh seems to be okay so I am hoping that we can replace those posts with wood ones and be able to rescue it.  It is a big garden so a lot of holes to dig.  At the same time it will be an opportunity to reinforce the bottom edge to keep out the rabbits who last year found their way under.  I keep hoping that the rabbits will be afraid of the big dogs that live here but so far it does not seem to be the case.  I think they guard all of the animals on the farmsite and think that the rabbits in the yard and the pheasants in the grove are to be protected as well.  And I guess that is okay.

Joining Met Monday at BNOTP here.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

a valentine table--next year

I didn't do Valentine's day.  I don't have pink or red or heart decor.  But yesterday my sister and I hit our closest Goodwill and I fell in love with and came home with some pieces that will work for next year.

I found a few pieces of a pink Fiesta.  Four dinner plates, three cereal bowls and four smaller bowls.  I have always been a fan of Fiesta but up until yesterday my only purchase was a white chop plate that a found while thrifting for $2 last year.  I have a set of my grandmother's vintage bowls that she gave to me a long time ago but I have not bought my own.  I drool over them when I see them new on display in the retail stores but this was the first that I have found this many matching ones in a thrift store. 

The square quilt was a $5 purchase at the same Goodwill.  It is beautiful and in great condition. It is greens and pinks.  The back is a green floral and there is a coordinating floral that is repeated in the borders and makes up the heart in the center.  The back has an embroidered corner stating that it was in 2001 with a couple's names and a church from across the state.  There is a casing sewn into the top edge on the back so that it can be hung on the wall.  


I am drawn to these shades of green and the pinks match the Fiesta dishes really nicely.  February 2018 I am ready. 

I am joining Tablescape Thursday at BNOTP here.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

putting Christmas away

Today I finally got the last of my Christmas down and stored.  I decided that it was time to follow up a bit on some Christmasy loose ends and then move on.

Christmas puddings

Before Christmas I shared a picture from my kitchen showing a basket of steamed pudding molds.
I had found several recipes for steamed puddings and planned to try them all, probably one each day of our celebrations and then evaluate.  In the craziness leading up to the holiday I only got one made, the figgy pudding.  It was not a great hit with our family.  My dad is the only one who is really a fan of fruitcake so he was okay with it but the rest, not so much.  I don't think that we even got a picture of it.  It worked great.  I used the center (largest) of the molds.  It is similar to a angel food tube pan in that there is a tube in the center so that when the cake is unmolded it has a hole down the center.  The mold as shown in the picture is upside down for how it is baked but then it is tipped out of the mold and rests on the plate in the same position that is it in the picture.  Figgy pudding is a cake that contains a large amount of dried figs and other dried fruits.  It also contains some liquor (brandy and rum) and when ready to serve heated brandy is poured over the cake and ignited.

Before Christmas I had purchased sufficient fruit to make two recipes and so after Christmas I used the rest of the fruit to make a different recipe for a Christmas Plum Pudding.  Unlike Figgy Pudding that actually contains figs, the plum pudding does not contain plums.  It does contain other dried fruit.  This recipe contained molasses and spices for more of a gingerbread like flavor.  Again the recipe went together well.  I again used the largest of the molds as I was not sure that the amount of cake batter that the recipe made would fit in the smaller melon shaped or round, non tube pan.  This pudding is served with a hard sauce.  Both the hard sauce and the cake contain Brandy.  I did get a picture of this cake.
It was okay.  The third pudding that I had planned to make was a chocolate one that does not contain fruit.  I still plan to make that one and I have a feeling that might be the one that ends up being the favorite.

Decanters

Last week I shared a link to a post by Helen at Entertablement that included a great bar cart and shared how I had recently scored a group of decanters.  I do not yet have a bar cart but I am now on the lookout for one but in the meantime I  needed a place to display my new collection.  So right now they are on my dry sink.  This is a piece that my uncle built many years ago and until I locate a bar cart this will be a fun place for them.

I took this picture a couple of days ago.  The stockings and the wine themed tree are put away but the throw that usually hangs there is yet to be put back up.  That and the chocolate steamed pudding should happen this week.  

It  has been quite wintry here in Minnesota.  We had a cold snap, followed by an ice storm, followed by a couple of snow storms.  We have had icy roads with snow covering, blowing and drifting, and all of the travel headaches that goes along with icy roads.  Tomorrow another day of a wintry mix is forecast.  Not sure if it will be snow or rain but following that we are predicted to have several days in a row with highs in the upper 30s so hopefully it will be enough to clear the last of the ice off of the roads.  Sounds like much of the country is dealing with winter.  Stay safe.     


Joining Met Monday at BNOTP.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Thinking spring

Several things have me thinking of spring while it is the Persephone period and bitter cold in Minnesota.

The first seed catalog has arrived this week:
Two recent finds at the thrift store have a garden theme:
Set of four salad plates with an orchard theme (above) and a large pasta serving bowl with heirloom tomatoes (below).
A Christmas gift from my daughter and son-in-law will hopefully help discourage some rabbit nibbling.
We are a zone 4 so our last frost date is May 23.  A little early to begin counting down the days or starting the seedlings but not too early to start planning and dreaming.
 
Not even close to a tablescape but some pictures of dishes so even though it is a stretch I will join Tablescape Thursday here.

fun how things come together

This is a long story, sort of, with multiple parts.  And it is not finished yet, but it is closer.  It started over a year ago.  My daughter and then future son-in-law were planning a wedding.  They had registered for all of the usual things, fine china, flatware, crystal, stoneware and I was interested in getting them something special.  In talking with the bride she mentioned that the groom had an interest in a decanter but they hadn't found the one that they loved so it was not on their registry.  I set about searching for a vintage one, sending pictures to my daughter of the occasional one that I ran across.  None were perfect.

At the same time I had been picking up vintage glass in a pattern called Wexford.  My other daughter had bought some glasses and the pattern was pretty distinctive and I started seeing it on thrifting outings with my sister and bought the first few pieces thinking that they would supplement her collection.  I don't know if it is a midwestern thing but I started finding it everywhere, fell in love with it myself and now my collection is larger than hers.  This summer I found two of the Wexford decanters and added them to my collection.  I did break the stopper to the one decanter but it didn't fit well and it fell off when I was carrying it so I wonder now if at some point it been substituted for the correct one prior to my purchase.   

I also found this little decanter that I hoped would hold small amounts of homemade elderberry cordial that I had steeping.

Then, just recently I discovered a blog through a link party that I had not read before.  Not sure how it had evaded my radar as the archives go back several years but I am so glad to have found it. And last week Helen, the blog's author, shared a drool worthy picture of her bar cart.

Go here to check it out.

She had written about how her husband was collecting decanters.  Each of their decanters was different and I loved the look and it changed my perspective.  I no longer was only on the lookout for Wexford decanters but would instead consider any that were interesting and fun.

Now, I have to admit that the idea of a bar cart for me is probably foolish.  I live alone.  I do not entertain often.  My kids are grown and live across the state with busy lives so we get together less than I would like.  But I want one.

Then, my favorite shop, a mix of thrift store and antique store, that specializes in estates, decided to move to another town.  They were having a sale, deeply discounting their inventory.  My sister and I decided to make probably our last trip to the store before they closed.  They had lots of stuff that they were selling that had not previously made it to their sales floor.  They would box up an estate, haul it to the shop, store the boxes in the basement and unload the boxes as space allowed.  They had six decanters.  And I grabbed them up.  Some of them still had old price tags on them so I think that they were probably collected over time and then the collection ended up as part of an estate.

In the blink of an eye I was a whole bunch closer to Helen's bar cart.  Yay!

To finish up this story.  I ended up choosing a different gift as a wedding gift for the bride and groom.  I continued to share pictures of new and vintage decanters with my daughter and this fall an online catalog that I received as an email had a new decanter that they liked and purchased.  I now am going to keep my eye out for a bar cart to hold my new collection.  And plan a cocktail party next time the kids are home.

Cheers.  

I will be joining BNOTP for Met Monday here.