Friday, October 25, 2013

Cheers to Eight Years!

Eight years ago, on October 22nd, Ryan and I reluctantly agreed to be set up with each other on a blind date.  Neither one of us wanted to go, but in the end we agreed.  I think it's safe to say that the date went well, and neither one of us regretted our decision to go!

We had been trying to think of a fun way to celebrate.  In the end, we decided that, instead of going out to a fancy restaurant and spending a lot of money on one meal, we'd cook ourselves a fancy multi-course meal at home (and have leftovers for several days afterward!). 

We came up with a menu, purchased the proper wines to compliment each dish, and spent most of Saturday happily cooking together at home.  

We set the table with our finest china, crystal, and silverware.

 Saturday evening, we did farm chores at the usual time (and there was no mad rush to get through them and catch a dinner reservation - so nice!), and then we grabbed our "date" clothing and went into different areas of the house to change.  We had decided not to show each other our date outfit until we were ready to actually start the date!  Unbeknownst to me, Ryan raced through changing, ran outside, and picked me a pretty bouquet of red roses (which he cutely bound with blue painter's tape).  Just as I was finishing up, he rang the doorbell and surprised me with flowers.  I was so touched and so happy (as I am sure you can tell by the picture).

It's probably hard to tell in the pictures, but I wore my amazing metallic gold 1930s dress with fishtail hem/train that I purchased from that antique store that was going out of business. 

Also purchased from that same store was the amazing art deco white fox fur wrap that I am wearing.  It's falling apart, but I love that wrap!

Our first course was a lovely Roederer Brut and an assorted local artisanal cheese platter with my homemade pork liver pate and bread crackers.

We decided that we would each act as waiter for two courses.  I picked the soup & salad courses, and Ryan chose to do dinner and dessert.

For our main entree, Ryan chose to cook his classic Cabernet-braised beef short ribs with gorgonzola polenta and mixed herb gremolata.  The short ribs were locally raised, the polenta was our own homegrown & handground cornmeal, and the herbs came straight out of the garden!  

Not only did the dish look amazing, but it tasted out-of-this-world delicious!

Some people might laugh at us, but honestly it was the best, most fun, evening we'd had together in a long time.  It was so nice to get all dressed up and have a fancy meal without worrying about driving home, or getting to a restaurant in time, or trying to find parking.  We could relax and enjoy ourselves!  We spent the same amount of money that we would have at an upscale restaurant, but we had several days' worth of delicious leftovers, and lots of amazing wine & food pairings.  It was the perfect way to celebrate eight years of happiness with my soulmate.  We have decided that we are definitely going to "eat in" more often!

Indian Summer

It's been an odd fall here - very much Indian Summer weather.  After a couple of bad frosts, the weather warmed back up again.  It's in the low 30s in the mornings, and the high 70s in the afternoon.  Very strange for this area.  The good news is that it has made the fall foliage around Jacksonville absolutely spectacular!  Last weekend, Ryan and I went for a walk around downtown and enjoyed the lovely colors.  

I wore my 1940s "His Girl Friday" suit and a Frank Palma feathered tilt hat.

The Jackson County Courthouse in downtown Jacksonville is one of my favorite buildings as far as local architecture.

Look at the gorgeous detailing on the columns.

They even have their Halloween ghost decorations up!

Just a gorgeous time of year!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Let Them {Wear} Cake!

One of my wonderful friends recently had a birthday, and we celebrated at a lovely little pizzeria in Ashland.  I loathe giving store-bought gifts, and I wanted to give her something special.  So I made her a birthday cake hat.  Because I'm that awesome.

The hat is made out of black felt (dinner plate) and white felt (birthday cake).  It has lace around the sides of the bottom (decorative marzipan frosting), and even felt candles with sequins for the flames!  "Happy Birthday" is written in "frosting" (really soutache braid).

I think the hat was a hit!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Like New (Or Maybe Even Better?)

A few months ago, I purchased a sad little faux bird hat on Ebay.  It was in desperate need of TLC: the veiling was shattered, faux birds missing nearly all their feathers and body parts, etc.  The hat was described by the seller as being "covered by chickens."  That description made me giggle, and I think was one of the reasons I purchased it.  Who else can claim to have a "chicken" hat?

I could see that at one time this hat was truly spectacular.  It was a 1940s black felt tilt hat by Frances Adams.  I knew that I could restore it to its former glory, but it was going to take a complete overhaul.  Beyond the felt hat base and the orange plastic faux bird beaks, everything else would have to be replaced.  I used a vintage black veiling to replace the shattered one, and attached it just as the original had been: looped like a figure "8" and tacked down at the edges.  Rebuilding the faux birds was much harder, as (because they were missing most of their feathers and parts) I did not quite know exactly how the original wings looked.  I did my best to reconstruct the birds as they were originally.  I believe I did a good job, and I hope Frances Adams would agree.

Recent Vintage Scores

After a long summer of no real vintage finds, I struck gold last month.  A peacock blue silk 1960s wiggle dress (with matching bolero jacket) for $10, and a $40 so soft 1950s squirrel fur bolero jacket made by "The Harris Company."

I also grabbed a $10 WWII wool nurse's cape at the thrifty a couple of weeks ago.

And I also finally finished repairing this lovely 1950s feathered Caspar-Davis hat (gift from friends, found at the thrift store in Portland).

I purchased this $35 1957 purple lace prom dress from the daughter of the original owner.  She wore it to her Talent high school prom!

I bought 21 vintage sewing patterns (1930s-1950s) for $1/pattern at a yard sale.  One of my favorites is a 1940s beret and matching purse pattern!