Monday, December 29, 2014


I am guilty of having a very busy Christmas season and I am so sorry for not posting regularly. Now that we are on the downswing, I 'll be plenty more consistent with my posts.

On that note, I found, in my email inbox this morning, a question from a friend posed like so, "Do you know?" Below is the question:

I first read it with a chuckle. Who would think to query this? And then I read it again with curiosity. And said, "Yeah! Why and how?" In my search for answers, I found that squirrels were not only a subject of note in British 18th Century paintings but also in American 18th Century paintings and French 16th Century paintings and in fact throughout several centuries and countries.

It seems the squirrel was a popular pet. And in fact, their keepers loved them so much that this pet consistently evoked poetry:

From The Virginia Gazette, December 15, 1768
A Young Lady's Complaint on the Death of her Squirrel.

A thing so pretty as my PHIL,
A thing so sprightly and so queer,
The pet I lov'd so very dear,
To rob me of the pretty elf,

For him I've lost each night's repose,
Nothing enjoying but my woes.
Oh could my squirrel but survive,

But he is gone ! ne'er to return!
And useless 'tie to sigh and mourn.
I'll therefore seek another pet ,

Amongst the fops or empty beaus,
Because he'd surely make me fret,
And prove a very worthless pet.

And the paintings:

1760 John Singleton Copley (American artist, 1738-1815). Boy (Henry Pelham) with a Squirrel.

1765 John Singleton Copley (American artist, 1738-1815). Frances Deering Wentworth (Mrs. Theodore Atkinson, Jr.)

1790 Denison Limner Probably Joseph Steward (American artist, 1753-1822). Miss Denison of Stonington, Connecticut possibly Matilda.

1526 Hans Holbein the Younger (1498–1543) Lady with a Squirrel on a chain.
1580's Portrait of a Lady, possibly the Poet Maddalena Salvetti (1557-1610), in a Green Dress and a pet Black Squirrel with a bell collar.

1600's Frederic Kerseboom (1632-1690) Lady with a Red Squirrel on a Chain and a Spaniel

1700's Joseph Highmore (English artist, 1692-1780) A Portrait of a Boy with a Pet Squirrel.

1730 Unknown French artist, Portrait of an Unknown French Lady Holding Flowers and a Red Squirrel with a bell collar.
I attained these renderings of these portraits from 18C American Women. For more explanations and interesting meanderings, please go visit Barbara. She has several other blogs as well, all worth a visit, including her biggest collection, "It's About Time."

Did I, however, get the answers to the how and why? No. I did not. If anyone knows, please enlighten me!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Domestic Sluttery

This holiday season has given me the busies. I have been overwhelmed with things I have (truth be told) done to myself. I have completed two rounds of baking, gotten all the shopping done, designed and sent the Christmas cards and sent all of the kids gifts too. I have made gingerbread (I am a connoisseur) and I have made baking boxes for the grandparents which included Alfajores, Hermits, Fig Thumbprints, Peppermint White Chocolate Fudge and the tried and true Chocolate Chip Cookies.

But I saved the best for last. My friend Clare sent me an extraordinary book irreverently titled Domestic Sluttery. And since I am indeed a domestic ho, I thought she chose a perfect tome to share with me. Not coincidentally there was a wicked cookie recipe in this book called "Sunny Honey Cookies." I immediately went to work slutting out in the kitchen to make a batch of these chewy, honey tinged delights.

Sunny Honey Cookies


12 Tbs butter

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey (If it is too stiff, warm it in the microwave for 5 seconds).
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup almond meal flour 
Zest of 1 orange
1 cup currants


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Beat in honey.
Sift in flour and baking soda.
Stir in Almond flour and Orange zest.
Roll dough into 1 inch balls them on a baking sheet lined with parchment roughly 2 inches apart.
Squash each ball gently with your fingers so they form rounds.
Bake for 12-15 minutes.
They should be brown at the edges when they are done.
Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Eat with some gentle Lady Grey tea.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Winter Whites

It's the season for Winter Whites. Here are some beautiful things for you!

Dreamy Whites
That basket and those pillows!
A French milk bucket makes a charming Christmas Tree display.
The styling here is magnificent and that tree sits in such a sweet crate.