Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer's Glory

A beautiful summer bouquet

We've been so busy with swim team practices and meets, I've had a hard time fitting in much else this week. I was able to complete the nine Pin-Up Man bags for my best customer's order. They turned out really well. I'm sure Sean's friends will love them! Don't forget you may place your own custom orders through my store:

Custom-made bags

I've been trying to identify a doll dress for months and I think I finally got it right. A lot of 1950s doll clothing I bought contained this obviously older dress. My guess was it went to a composition doll from the 1930s or 40s. It fits the 8 inch toddler dolls like Ginny or Alexander-kins, so I first researched the Alexander pre-cursor to the Alexander-kins: Tiny Betty. I didn't see one exactly like this, though Bo Peep and Marie Antoinette and Cinderella all wore similar 18th Century styles, with attached panniers and pantaloons.

I think this dress is the same as in the photo.

Finally I came across a photo of the Toddles Bo Peep from 1943. Toddles was the Vogue doll which preceded Ginny. The Toddles dolls were marked with a gold sticker tag on one side of their dresses. This dress has residue from a sticker of the same shape and size in the correct spot. The fabric is yellow in my photo, but this dress has faded to cream. I really think it's the same dress, though, and I'm glad I finally solved that little mystery!

Residue from a tag

Since I sold through all my trunk sets I've been working on three new ones. I have Ginny, Muffie, and Wendy-kins all in progress with little trunks or suitcases to hold their trousseau wardrobes. Keep watching for those!

Just one day's harvest

I set the sprinkler on a timer while we were away and I guess it rained quite a bit as well, so the garden got plenty of water while we were gone. We've harvested our first ripe tomato, along with onions, cabbage, coriander, rhubarb, strawberries, blueberries, and the last of the dill. I made delicious homemade coleslaw for supper last night with our own cabbage, green onions, and dill. I threw in a cup or so of dried Michigan cherries as well. It was fabulous! Besides the veggies, we've been blessed with beautiful and fragrant flowers to grace the house and yard. There isn't much I enjoy more than a big floral bouquet!

The first ripe tomato from our garden

Over the weekend we made a trip to Ikea and I was ecstatic to find Cloudberry jam in stock. Cloudberries are an extremely rare find, especially here in the South. In Norway they grow in the Arctic and the highlands. Plants can take up to seven years to bear fruit, so even there it can be difficult to find them. The best cloudberry fields are jealously guarded secrets, passed down through generations of each family. Here I guard my wild blackberry fields with the same vigilance. I think I've discovered a cache  in our new home. Soon we will see how well it yields.

Cloudberries taste a bit like blackberries or raspberries, but with a hint of something citrusy, like apricots or peaches or oranges. Their large seeds and flavor remind me of pomegranates as well. They're just unique. To celebrate, I made up a little "recipe", although it's really more of an assemblage.

Cloudberry Cookies
Serves 5
Take 10 thin, pepparkakor-style (or Moravian-style here in NC) gingersnaps and top each with a 1/4 inch thick slice of marzipan. I used citrus-flavored pepparkakor. You can get marzipan in the baking section of most supermarkets. Top each cookie with a dollop, about 1/2 tablespoon, of cloudberry jam.

And there you have it! You could make your own cookies and marzipan if you really wanted a homemade dessert. And I suppose if you can find cloudberries you can make your own jam as well. I love this not only for the cloudberries but also because of the marzipan. I absolutely love marzipan, or almond paste. When I was a young girl my grandmother would make her own marzipan on very rare and special occasions. Usually she made them at Christmas. She would mold and paint each piece to look like fruit. I can still see her tiny peaches and apples and berries, each one a miniscule precious jewel. My mother never makes marzipan; she says it's too much trouble, but I hold on to the memory of those glorious almond fruits. I've never made them either. Maybe this year I will make a batch for my own children. If you are not making your own cookies and marzipan, I highly recommend Ikea's. Neither are overly sweet as are the American versions.

Yummy Scandinavian food from Ikea

We have two swim meets, an awards ceremony, band practice, and a parade, as well as the July 4th holiday for which we may have guests, so you will probably not be hearing much from me over the next week. I hope you have a wonderful Independence Day!

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