Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Wishing all of you a very happy and healthy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Madonna Crowns

I only have a handful of these beautiful Madonna crowns, they once sat upon the head of a Santos or Madonna statue. I dream about going to the Paris flea market one day and finding 18th and 19th century crowns.

Photos courtesy of Drooz Studios

Have you ever seen anything prettier? These tiny glass tiaras are from Drooz Studio
I would like one in each color or a dozen in clear. They would look beautiful on a mantel or a grouping of them on a dining table with loads of candles.
These are perfect until I finally get to the Paris flea market!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


I'm so sad about the loss of Eartha Kitt.

Happy Bonus Christmas!

Deke was very good this year so Santa brought him all of these!!!

Lulu was also on the nice list!!!

This is one of the gifts I gave my husband.
I found two of these very cool aluminum piano stools.

December 26th is Bonus Christmas Day at the Crispell home. We started doing this years ago as a way to help with the feeling of let down when the holiday is finally over. There is so much anticipation and preparation leading up to Christmas, and when it's over you are left with a weird feeling of loss. The best gift on Bonus Christmas is a gift that you find marked down to practically nothing in all of the day after sales! Target has great holiday gift sets on sale today and I will have to scoop a couple up. Hope you had a wonderful holiday and an even nicer Bonus Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


We are expecting 4-6 more inches of snow today, this has been a very snowy December! It is very tempting to move to the equator. I have to shop for our Christmas Eve dinner and our Christmas morning breakfast. We always have Italian food on Christmas Eve and egg nog french toast on Christmas morning.
I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday!!!
Your Pal,

A Corleone Christmas

I have a rather odd Christmas tradition of watching The Godfather 1 and 2 on Christmas Eve night. I stay up until the wee hours of Christmas morning helping Santa get the house ready for the kids, as we watch these two wonderful movies. Santa tends to leave his snowy white shoe prints all over the living room floor just as I am turning off the DVD. Nothing puts me in the holiday spirit more than hearing the line, "leave the gun, take the cannoli"!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Candle Aviary

I am going to fill up this bird aviary with loads of white candles for Christmas. It reminds me of the altars of candles at Notre Dame when it is all aglow.

A big thank you to the very talented artist Marsha at Tumble Fish Studio for giving me this award. Please check out her colorful and unique style, I am the very lucky owner of a few of her creations!!! Her Etsy shop is wonderful!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Misgivings (Missed Giving)

Do you lose gifts that you have squirreled away for the holidays? When I find a gift during the year I store it in my "prize closet" and retrieve it for the holidays. Unfortunately, I always seem to lose something in the closet. I am currently tearing the house up looking for a sock monkey, a gold Richard Nixon pin covered in faux pearls and a signed book. I only have five days to find them, yikes!!!!


Madeleines are one of my favorite cookies and I love the special madeleine pans you need for baking them! It does not seem correct to call these little spongy cakes "cookies", maybe cake-ies would work.

Madeleine Recipe

Yields about 48 medium sized madeleines.

4 eggs
1½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups butter, melted and clarified

You will need:
Madeleine mold/pan
Large bowl
Sauce pan (or double boiler)
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Pastry bag
#4 plain large tube

Preheat oven to 350°F
Grease madeleine molds well

Combine eggs, sugar and lemon rind in a large bowl.
Heat over hot water, until warm.
Remove from stove and beat in a mixer at high speed until they are light, fluffy and tripled in bulk.

Add vanilla, fold in flour, then melted butter.
Be careful not to beat after flour is added.

Fill a pastry bag, fitted with a large plain round decorating tube, with the batter.
Squirt batter into the cavities of the madeleine mold, filling them 2/3 full.

Bake about 10 minutes, or until tops of cakes are golden.
Remove from molds immediately.

Grease molds again, refill with batter and bake.
Continue until all batter is used.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


One of the loveliest holiday cookies is the Italian pizzelle. My grandmother, Josephine Ungaro made the most delicious and delicate version of this cookie. It is usually flavored with anise, lemon or vanilla. This year I am going to dust off my pizzelle maker and try my hand at turning these cookies into cannoli shells. I will have about a one second to shape the warm cookies around a wooden dowel before the cookie hardens. Wish me luck!


3 LBS. Ricotta
1 3/4 cups sifted confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 TBS. chopped citron
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate bits

Beat Ricotta in a large bowl for one minute. Add sugar and beat until very
light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add Cinnamon , citron, chocolate, and mix
until throughly blended. Refrigerate until ready to use.
It may be prepared a day ahead of time.


6 eggs
3 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c butter melted
4 t baking powder
2 T vanilla or anise extract or lemon
My Mother-In-Law adds a shot of whiskey to her recipe

Beat eggs. Add sugar, beat again. Add melted butter and vanilla or
anise. Beat in flour and baking powder. Cook in pizzelle iron according to instructions.
Quickly place warm cookie over metal cannoli tube or wooden dowel, to make cannoli shell.
Makes 2 dozen

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Do The Math

This weekend I made sugar cookies and I had to quadruple the recipe, yikes! I got a headache from all the crazy math skills I had to whip out. I could have asked my 10 year old to help, he could do it in a fraction of the time (pun), but that would be pathetic of me. I always hold my breath while the first batch is baking. If my little reindeer start growing 20 times their original size, I know my arithmetic was a little off. Are you baking for the Holidays???

Monday, December 15, 2008

Shopping On Ice

School is out for winter break this Friday, so I only have five days left to get all of my shopping done. Unfortunately, everything is covered in ice this morning and we are expecting a snow storm tomorrow. I think I will put on cozy socks and shop from my computer.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Flea Market Holiday

Estate sale find!

I love finding wreaths and ornaments that were made by Grandma
using tons of pins, pearls and sequins!

Plenty of broken bird ornaments to fill 1000 nests.

I collect these bowls made from greeting cards, they are the perfect container
to give cookies in.

Poor Santa has seen better days, he's chipping and crumbling.


I love the graphics, illustrations and colors on these posters from the 1930's and 40's. Everything is appealing about these except the subject matter. These remind me of really cute brochures my husband designed when we were in college. Gray would make extra money doing different graphic design projects when he was in art school. The University of Michigan Student Health Services hired him to design brochures on sexually transmitted diseases. These brochures were placed in dorms, libraries and just about any place students congregated. The designs were visually appealing and eventually everyone I knew had an embarrassing story involving picking up one of these cute brochures not realizing the content.

Better times in Illinois

The Governor of our state was arrested yesterday, joining the previous Governor, who is currently serving a lengthy jail sentence. It would seem that our capitol in Springfield functions as a reverse halfway house for future felons! What saddens me about Rod Blagojevich's shadiness is the impact his actions will have on his two young daughters. We attended an outdoor event a few years ago and Lulu struck up a friendship with his daughter Amy. While the Governor was giving a speech, Lulu and Amy entertained themselves in the Governor's SUV and listened to tunes with the bodyguards. I wonder how his kids will deal with their father's fall from grace and likely imprisonment ? I wish he had been thinking about them when he was selling Barack's Senate seat. The entire state needs a shower, we all feel kind of tainted.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Diamonds Found In Garbage!

Looky what some big dope was giving the heave-ho to! I actually rescued two of these classic 1952 Diamond Chairs by Harry Bertoia from the garbage. I keep one eye on the curb and I 'm always prepared to slam on my breaks.

Yucky but Happy

Feeling yucky, but still able to smile! What is she doing back there????

I am all feverish and drippy, pretty disgusting overall!!! If I could find my camera, I would post pics of the lovely bracelets Saucy and Loopy made for me, Lulu, and Lulu's American Girl Doll! They are lovely and loaded with amazing charms. It was wonderful meeting our Canadian friends for brunch at American Girl Place during their recent visit to Chicago. They're are both quite beautiful, Loopy will be a very smart Super Model one day. We made plans for Loopy, Lulu and Lola (Lourdes, Madonna's daughter) to form a pink sparkly guitar band. They could call themselves the Elles (L's). Saucy is a modern day Renaissance woman, and she knows more about American politics than anyone!
I would also post pics of the package Marsha from Tumble Fish Studio sent. I picked up a few cool things from her new Etsy shop to give to my husband for Christmas. She makes lovely fairy collages from old pics, and carries the cutest flea market finds!
I'll be back when I'm not so contagious.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Charles and Ray Eames

Charles and Ray Eames

Santa Chair

My son Deke has this chair in his bedroom, it is usually holding his folded clean clothes. My In-Laws gave us this chair from their vast collection of uber cool mid-century furniture. They appreciated the designs of Saarinen, and Charles and Ray Eames a half century ago! My husband grew up eating breakfast on Eero Saarinen's tulip chair and table.