Monday, October 21, 2013

The Autumn Woman

This past Saturday, I spent a wonderful afternoon attending an East Coast Woman's  Salon  in Brielle, NJ at the home of Flo Schell.  

Photo courtesy of Flo Schell

I made Flo's acquaintance when I saw her pins on Pinterest.  We  used to comment back and forth, and Flo invited me to pin to her group boards.  

Flo Schell

You can see the beautiful and inspiring pins for this salon here.

Flo's backyard, Photo courtesy of Flo Schell

The name of the salon was The Way of the Autumn Woman:  Embracing wabi-sabi as a guide to living.  

Madonna & Child, painting by Flo Schell

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic that  comes from embracing imperfection, incompleteness and transience (impermanence).

Sweet bird

The Japanese embrace the aging process.  

The two statues are a perfect example, the newer one in the back, the older, more weathered one in the front.  I learned that feeling "different" = 'unique'.  Can you embrace your imperfections?

Great Mother, painting by Flo Schell

Flo graciously allowed me to take some photos.  This has no relevance to the salon, I have always wanted an espaliered apple tree, and here I found one (faux).  I loved it!

Flo has just started painting in January of this year.  I was quite taken with her work.  I also was taken with this book tower, I thought it was free standing, but it is a shelf.  

We were asked to bring an object that was old, worn, or weathered, or in some way showing its age. If it's an object or photo you love...that would make it even sweeter.  I decided on my initial ring given to me by my parents for either my 18th, or 21st, birthday.  I can't remember it is so long ago. Some ladies brought a doll, old cards, a child's music book.  

Kwan Yin, Goddess of Compassion, painting by Flo Schell

I was greeted at the door by Flo with a huge smile, and immediately felt a kinship with her and the other guests as they arrived.  

Photo courtesy of Flo Schell

We were all "women of a certain age", sharing similar life experiences.  It is all done at your own comfort level.

We ended with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, very very symbolic and very, very quiet.  It was a tea to purify the soul by becoming one with nature:  calm, rustic, graceful, simple.  At the end of the ceremony, a purse was passed around and we each received a token to commemorate this day.  I chose a small stone.  

Close up to see the beautiful eyes of the Madonna in the painting by Flo Schell
I am so looking forward to the winter salon.

St. Hildegarde von Bingen, Nun, 1st doctor of the Church, painting by Flo Schell

I urge you to visit Flo's website and Pinterest boards.  She is also the author of Wisdom of the 8 Bowls.

Sharing with The Places I've Been, Wow Us Wednesdays, You're Gonna Love It, Sweet & Simple Friday.  


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October's Note Card Party

Joining Vee for her monthly Note Card Party, a fun linky where you share photos from older posts or ones you may have just taken.  

I decided to re-visit my friend's 30 acre farm in Wytheville, Virginia.

Yeah, yeah, I'd be a perfect Thanksgiving card, with the saying "Eat pork!"

Phew!  At least Turkey didn't ask "Where's the beef"!

Not a daily 9 - 5 job


Please stop by Vee's for lots of 'hospitality' and beautiful photos, most definitely note card worthy!


Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.     ~  Nathaniel Hawthorne 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Good Eats

I haven't done a foodie post in a while, haven't really been cooking or preparing blogworthy items.  

My friend Marie asked me if I would be interested in making eggplant caponata, a Sicilian specialty consisting of cubed, fried eggplant, celery, tomatoes, seasoned with a sweet and sour syrup of sugar and red wine vinegar, and olives and capers.  My Sicilian grandma made an excellent one, but I never did get to write down the 'recipe'.  I looked online and found one that sounded like what I remembered, and Marie and I got to work in her sunny, beautiful kitchen.

We salted and let the cubed eggplant rest to draw out excess water and bitterness.

Marie and I each prepped a different part of the recipe.  All the veggies came from a roadside farm stand right near Marie's home in Monroe, NJ.

Best, most sweetest watermelon I ever ate from Krackerjacks Farm Stand

We also made roasted red peppers, my favorite to serve as an appetizer with fresh mozzarella and as part of an antipasto.  They are wonderful to add to sandwiches, egg salad, and hummus.

Kitchen smelled so delicious while we worked!


I peeled and seeded 26 peppers.  Marie bought a bushel full, a couple we had to toss and Marie put some aside to stuff.

Easiest way to roast a large amount of peppers, under the broiler!

When peppers are blackened, place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  They will steam and skin is easy to remove and so is the stem with all the seeds attached.

We sterilized jars in the dishwasher on the sani-cycle

We had a fun day.  Marie even made a delicious eggplant parmigiana for dinner the night before, and we enjoyed it for our lunch break.

Two city girls originally from Brooklyn, enjoying God's bounty and keeping our grandmothers' recipes alive.

Sharing with Seasonal Sunday, Tutorials, Tips & Tidbits, Bouquet of TalentYou're Gonna Love ItWhat's It Wednesday, From the Farm, Sweet and Simple Fridays, Full Plate ThursdayFoodie Fridays, and Home Sweet Home.  Thanks to all our hostesses.


Note:  Since we really used "culinary license" here, if you are interested in making these yourself, contact me and I will send you our "scrib" notes!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Blessing of the Animals

Today is the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi.  He is the Patron Saint of Animals.

From Pope Francis I's Facebook page, St. Francis believed all animals were stamped with God's image.  For him, every creature and earthly experience -- the sun, moon, wind, air, water, fire, earth, animal, plant -- was a window to God.

Here are my two in their 'travel' cages,  having a birdy meltdown, well, at least Pearlie was!  They associate car trips with vet visits.

Pearlie made a ruckus up until she saw the doggies, and heard the barking, then she kept quiet (briefly).

Hanging on tight!

It is a social event for some of the dogs 

Here is the priest reciting prayers

Weather is so glorious, but it is about to change and rain is in the forecast by early next week, feeling the effects of TS Karen.

This is one of my favorite prayers, by one of my favorite saints.  

Sharing with Seasonal Sundays.


“Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France 

Sky Watch Friday

Indian Summer, Staten Island, NY  by Barbara F.
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