Glimpses of the season's beauties before they go on their way.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
My friend Gloria from Casina di Rosa and the blog At Home in Tuscany kindly asked me to write a guest post on my very favorite subject -- the feeling of home. She and I would love it if you would take a moment to go over there for a read. Here's the link.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
When we first bought this place, it was full of broken down, rotted furniture. I tried to save a few key pieces. There was a buffet that could not be saved, but it had a mirror that was intact. I put it aside - for six years - until I could find the right spot for it. A week before the first guests for this year's new room came, I was scrambling around the shops to find a full length mirror, in a panic, because I could not find anything that I liked. I thought about assembling a mosaic, but my time was short and my to-do list was long.
Then I remembered. I dove into the remaining unrenovated part of the barn and dug through the old doors and rusted wheels and tools, and there it was. The buffet mirror. A quick sanding, a little white paint, and a good cleaning and there it was - the perfect full length mirror for the new room. It belongs here, is as much part of the original house as the old tiles on the stairs, and suits the room's simple lines perfectly. Originally intended to be mounted horizontally, it's now mounted vertically. And it looks great.
Making a feeling of home means using things that are part of the original furnishings and mixing them with with new, fun pieces until the whole place hums.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Beauty is abundant.
After caring for some small gardening beds here for six years now, something new is emerging for me -- the feel of a grown - in garden. For years, the front strip that runs along the veranda was full of plantings - things that came together and things that did not - until this year when it all started to work. The palms are getting larger. The rose bushes are filling in. The pergola is finished and covered. It's taken on a life, a feel of its own, and I love it. Roses next to chive flowers; ivy growing every which way. The fig is arching over to the pergola; soon the grape vines we planted will be scrambling up the rusty iron posts.
There are few things more satisfying than a lovely small garden. A place where a person can sit, drink a cup of tea, read a book, enjoy some shade. It's lovely to have this here, in finished fashion, after six years. Another dimension to our home.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Some breakfast porn for you...
Mix of proscuitto di Parma with salami di Milano, served with a mix of cantelope and watermelon...
Home made whole wheat, rye and muesli bread, baked fresh minutes before...
...served with wildflower honey mixed with hazelnuts and almonds. First tomatoes of the season and first cherries as well...
Another morning, we have the mixed mellon but this time with strawberries, two different kiwi types (one yellow, one green), whole wheat bread with walnuts, cherry tomato and mozzarella salade, and a square apple pie up there in the corner.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Elderflower, or sambuco season is upon us. Time to make elderflower champagne.
Elderflowers are so delicate and beautiful. They can be dipped in batter and deep fried in oil, or made into liquor or champagne.
Sugar, lemon and its zest, the flowers, water and a touch of vinegar are all you need - and the flowers of course...
Saturday, May 15, 2010
The long marathon of renovation work is winding up, and the longer marathon of the season is upon us. I will struggle, as I do every year, to refind my rhythm of innkeeping. It's a beautiful thing, innkeeping, but it is one that has to be approached carefully, with respect to one's body and soul. The tasks can be seemingly endless. There is always, somewhere, something that needs to be done. Flowers to be planted, sheets to be ironed, tiles to be regrouted, reservations to be made, bread to be baked, windows to be washed. Which is why, for me, the beginning of the season is an important time to remember my own limits, to respect them, to get my rest, to eat correctly, and to remember that whatever I don't manage to do today will still be there tomorrow.
It has been long years of lessons learned that have brought me to this point. The point where I can learn that enjoying this process is more important than having things exactly as I wish them to be. That a rested back can accomplish more than a tired one can. That a smile should not mask exhaustion, but should rather be just a smile.
These might seem like simple thoughts, but they are not- not when one lives in the same place where one works. Not when one is no longer 30.
It's a lovely way to live. As long as one takes care. For now, it's back in the groove for me.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
May 10, 2010
hand designed glass and gold/silver plate door knob
Wooden bread box from Sweden
Hand made ceramic soap dish
Words escape me! I cannot believe we have gotten this completed in time for our reservations. The weather put us weeks behind, and threatened us constantly, since we have had a cold, wet spring after a cold wet winter. But all of our trades came through with flying colors and the room is just about... perfect... just a couple of small details to iron out, but nothing major.
The last eight weeks have been an absolute marathon. We are tired, but happy to have this project completed... and now we can move on to landscaping and guest relations.
More to come as we get things done-- the exterior and the terrace.