Currently Reading: Leave Me Alone with the Recipes

In an age of endless influencers, it’s so exciting to come across a purely original voice. I’m reading Leave Me Alone with the Recipes: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles, an illustrated semi-biography of the first woman art director for Conde Nast, Cipe Pineles.

cipe

Editors Sarah Rich, Wendy MacNaughton, Maria Popova, and Debbie Millman all write about the influence Cipe had on their own work, as well as her trailblazing efforts in a male-dominated field.

cipepineles2

The true gems are in the gouache illustrations of Cipe’s family recipes. These were found at a book sale, all part of a private journal that Cipe created. Thank goodness Sarah Rich serendipitously came across it and shared it with the world. I’m so in love!

cipe1
Image from BrainPickings

We’ve started a Pinterest Page of Original Influencers. Who else should be on that list? And what are you reading this weekend?

Link to book:Leave Me Alone with the Recipes: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles

 

Mixed Print Book Club

In our recently formed “Mixed Print Book Club,” we try to pick books for the group that are charming, fun, and an escape from reality (for better or for worse). The group consists of mostly working women (and yes, that includes full-time mamas!), so when we have a few minutes to slip away into another world, it helps when the main characters are swoon-worthy and silly.

Our picks so far have included:

eleanor

Next Read: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel

***

attachments

 

Attachments: A Novel, by Rainbow Rowell – Oh holy night, this is a heart-swelling, laugh-and-cry-out loud, swoony moony charming book. It’s told mostly through emails, so it reads quickly, and we guarantee you’ll be cheering by the end.

***

51zs47eoayl-_sx320_bo1204203200_

The Rosie Project: A Novel,
by Graeme Simsion
 – This quirky romcom novel is fairly predictable but oh so enjoyable! The narrator is a man with Asperger’s, who is determined to find the perfect life partner, using a complicated set of rules and regulations. Also a quick read, and part of a series, for those who can’t get enough of Don.

***

5172rhycs2bl-_sx329_bo1204203200_

Kiss Carlo: A Novel by Adriana Trigiani – Our friend, book clubber, and surrogate sister Missy loves loves loves the author Adriana Trigiani, and has gotten us hooked. The Big Stone Gap series series is ten thumbs up! Kiss Carlo is a sumptuous throwback with beautiful descriptions and a world to definitely get lost in.

***

bernie

Where’d You Go, Bernadette: A Novel – The book that kicked it all off! Hands down, across the board, a winner. Told in a series of emails and letters, this Seattle-set satire is funny, smart, and delightful. Plus, that cover!

***

What are you reading? Interested in joining in from afar? Message us and we can set up a post for commenting on each book!

{featured photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash}

Working Girl Cake

I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to Cakes. Birthday cakes, baby cakes, wedding cakes, cookie cakes, naked cakes, drip cakes, vintage cakes, meringue cakes…you name it, I’ve pinned it. I have the best intentions of making Nicole and I the most grandiose, sparkling and macron themed birthday cake, but then every year our birthday pops up OUT OF NOWHERE and I just make us cocktails.

This past weekend I hosted a baby shower and I had all intentions of making the most grandiose sparkling blueberry drip cake, and then as everything else, the date popped up OUT OF NOWHERE. Bound and determined to still make a cake, but knowing I didn’t have time with my 438 jobs I currently have, I had a creative working girl solution.

I found an inspiration photo on Pinterest.

Then, I ordered (from a local grocery store) a 3 tiered chocolate cake that was just iced. No piping. No decoration. Just iced. It was $17. That is the greatest time and mess saver and I will never, ever bake a cake again after coming up with this genius plan.

blankcake.jpg

Then, I made a ganache. It’s easy. Equal parts chocolate and heavy whipping cream. Melt slowly in the microwave with 25 second increments until melted and smooth.

ganache

Next, the drizzle. Spoon it around the edges of the cake to give it the drip look. Mine got a bit wonky on some spots, but that’s the charm of home made.

drizzle

Then, fill in the top.

berries

Since it was a baby boy shower, I decided to top the cake with blueberries and blackberries. Just pile them on. No rhyme or reason.

final

Tada! They will think you worked days in the kitchen, when in reality, it was more like 15 minutes. And all under $25. They will love it. Here’s proof.

alldone

***

If you are a more tactile, flip-through-the book kind of baker, here are some of my favorites from my home collection:

Butter Celebrates!: Delicious Recipes for Special Occasions

Butter Baked Goods: Nostalgic Recipes From a Little Neighborhood Bakery

How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking

The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

Anything But Neutral: Home Inspiration from the Movies

Both of us are OBSESSED with charming, cozy, European home design. The quirkier and more colorful, the better. I think we both know our husbands will only allow *so* much whimsy in our house. Therefore, we live vicariously.

PADDINGTON BEAR is making the rounds in our family. I read the first book to my kiddos earlier and thought it was a delight. OF COURSE the movie is, too. The set design and use of color reminds me a lot of my all time favorite movie, Amelie. So it’s no wonder I want to dive in and live in The Brown’s colorful house.

Take a peek:

A charming cherry tree mural, winding with the spiral stair case!

A red bedroom with matching upholstered headboard! Reminds me of another favorite room…

amelie

{image may be subject to copyright}

colourful paddington bear movie interior set design

A carousel horse in the office!

Midcentury lamps mixed with tear-drop chandeliers!

Paddington-movie-house-foyer-with-striped-wallpaper-e1432125030655

Candy-striped wallpaper! Painted furniture! Art everywhere! Hanging at crooked angles! (Reminds me of my house, actually…)

Oh, the color, the whimsy, the charm.

Excuse me. I’m going to run to the store to pick up some blue paint…or go shopping using this fun site, Film & Furniture.

***

Little doses of Paddington inspiration:

paddington

Read “A Bear Called Paddingtonto your kiddos.

umbrella

A cherry blossom umbrella! For those of us who might not be able to wrap our spiral staircase with a mural…

basket

Market baskets to keep all your books and plants in, and to use while walking down charming British streets. {I actually do have about 1000 of these in my house…}

Book Love: Folk Art Techniques

My personal artistic style is messy, dreamy, and intuitive. I very rarely sketch out ideas or work with a final image in mind. This might be why I’m compelled to buy every art-technique book out there, because the process is so foreign and fascinating.

I LOVE folk art, and folk design, from all regions of the world. Lately a few new books have been published with step-by-step techniques and ideas, and are welcome additions to my collection.

imagineaforest

Imagine A Forest: Designs and Inspirations for Enchanting Folk Art

Enchanting folk art! Mermaids and sirens, beetles and butterflies! Wallpaper inspiration for daysssss. Usually I check out a book from the library before purchasing, but I went with my gut and bought it. So happy I did!

Then, it wasn’t enough. I needed MORE. So, again, sight unseen, I purchased Creative Folk Art and Beyond:

creative

This fun book caters toward those who require more instruction and steps to create their work. It’s like a sketchbook and journal all in one. Also a good keeper!

If you are wanting to add even MORE folk art instruction books, here’s a list I found:

Folklorique: A Folk Art Coloring Book: A Unique Antistress Coloring Gift for Men, Women, Teenagers & Seniors with Relaxing Patterns, Stress Relieving … Relief, Mindful Meditation & Relaxation)

Modern Folk Embroidery: 30 Contemporary Projects for Folk Art Inspired Designs

European Folk Art Designs (Dover Pictorial Archive)

Etchart: Hidden Forest: Reveal the wonders of the wild in 9 amazing Etchart scenes

I’ve also put together a Pinterest Board on swoon-worthy folk art, both traditional and contemporary.

One snowy day, sitting by the fire, I decided to try my hand at folk-style art. This was extremely satisfying, and maybe now I should set my career sights as a wallpaper artist? Yeah? Maybe.

IMG_5398.JPG
pattern play by Nicole Chilton

Currently Reading: Literary Witches

My to-read pile is about to tower over the roof of my house, and reading books such as “Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers isn’t going to help that out any. This beautiful collection of vignettes and illustrations highlights different women writers from history, and then suggests FURTHER READING!

Literary Witches
Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers

I picked up a digital copy for my e-reader, but will definitely be seeking out a physical book to keep handy at all times. The illustrations are mesmerizing and the poetic vignettes inspired by these women are worth embroidering on my pillows.

What are you currently reading?

Hygge-based Gratitude

Every morning for the past few years, I’ve jotted a quick note of something I’m grateful for. It helps start the day on a positive note, and puts my mind somewhere cozier.

This year, I decided to focus each month with a theme. Get really specific. Inspired by one of my Christmas presents, “The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, I decided to write down all things “cozy” (the definition of Hygge – pronounced hoog-a).

51YQpxZWUGL._SX348_BO1,204,203,200_

Being cozy is an enormous luxury, as I found out by these daily notes. Warm water, dry socks, and sweets aren’t something any human should take for granted, because not everyone is so fortunate to have these.

Hope you enjoy and find ways to embrace your good fortune of hygge!

26849946_10155632785553800_5931325251040458288_o

  1. warm water
  2. coffee
  3. dry socks
  4. candlelight
  5. Yoga Blankets
  6. pashminas
  7. fireplaces that work
  8. rainy nights
  9. brisk walks
  10. grilled cheese
  11. kid snuggles
  12. reading by firelight
  13. book shopping
  14. SNOW DAYS!
  15. dinner with family, sitting around the fire
  16. slow cooking (making whipped cream by hand)
  17. easy chairs
  18. a warm house
  19. jazzy radio
  20. a drawer full of clean pj’s
  21. hugging my husband
  22. thunderstorms
  23. Amber Incense
  24. QUIET TIME
  25. well-loved scarves
  26. tarot by candlelight
  27. brunch with my daughter
  28. a clean bedroom
  29. misty mornings
  30. writing letters
  31. golden milk

What are YOU grateful for that makes you feel all warm and cozy? We’d love to hear.

Originally published over at NicoleChilton.com.