Archive for January, 2012

Turandot remains my favorite opera, largely because of the aria Nessun Dorma. I think of it often, the aria, when I’m dead tired with so much yet to do. The lyrics begin with Nobody shall sleep and end with I will win! Makes me push on and be triumphant! Pavarotti performs it best, in my opinion; it’s almost as though Puccini wrote it just for him.

In these days Nessun Dorma rings through my head while I have little sleep but look forward to the setting stars and the coming of dawn when I shall have conquored the obstacles.

Nobody shall sleep!…
Nobody shall sleep!
Even you, o Princess,
in your cold room,
watch the stars,
that tremble with love and with hope.
But my secret is hidden within me,
my name no one shall know…
On your mouth I will tell it when the light shines.
And my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine!…
(No one will know his name and we must, alas, die.)
Vanish, o night!
Set, stars! Set, stars!
At dawn, I will win! I will win! I will win!

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Last week I talked about my fantasy shop, or at least one of my fantasy shops. There are many floating around in my mind, each catering to a different market. It’s fun to imagine these shops, which would most like be located in touristy areas. Except when I fantasize about having a brick and mortar shop (or many) I forget sometimes that I have an actual shop to which I must attend. That would be my little space on Etsy.

If you’ve never been to visit I’d love to see your tally on my stats page. Oh, I know that sounds horribly impersonal, but believe me, when I see those little tallies I know they represent actual people. Sometimes it’s fun to imagine what those people are like, depending on what they’re looking at. Yes, I see you looking at specific items, and I love you for it!

I have lots of lovely candles for your visual and aromatic enjoyment. They come in a variety of colors and scents and are made of paraffin or palm wax. The ever-popular beeswax candles are on their way to my shop this year. As much as I like palm wax and paraffin, beeswax is my favorite. I think the reason they haven’t gotten into the shop yet is because I burn them all myself before they get there.

I have a variety of cute, nostalgic, funny and bizarre bottle cap magnets. There are lots in the shop right now, and so many more to come.

That’s just a little sample of what’s in my real shop. I hope you’ll stop by sometime and come back often to see what’s new. Your tallied presence is what drives me be more productive and to add things to the shop more frequently. You are my reason for existing as Auntie B.

If you have any ideas of things you’d like to see in my shop just let me know in the comments below.

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Having a crafty biz makes me more in tune with shops and websites and businesses in general.  I think lots of people, at one time or another, fantasized about owning a brick and mortar shop.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my fantasy shop lately.  Of course I would carry my own hand-crafted items in the shop, but I’d also want to fill it with the handmade wonders of others.  Beautiful cards and papers for old-fashioned letter writing, and why not some sealing wax and presses too?

Writings By Bluebirds

I’d have a little section of quaint hats, the kind that never go out of fashion, certainly not the type found at the wedding of William and Kate.  Jewelry?  Not so much, but some pieces that are truly one of a kind to make a statement.  I think I’d like to have some antique pieces in my shop too, just to give the hint of a musty smell and to bring the past into everyday life.  Maybe some custom fragrances in pretty bottles, and I’d offer free sniffs for all.


Linens would be delicate and plentiful, perhaps with some hand-stitched embroidery to give them some whimsy.  There would be colorful garden tools for those who like to make things grow, and dried flower arrangements in rustic baskets.

The Flower Patch

Cozy and entertaining.  Traditional and trendy.  Coming into my shop and you’d be treated like an honored guest.  I’d have home-baked treats for anyone who stopped by, and maybe a spot of tea.  My shop would be the first place ladies would look for gifts for themselves as well as others.

That’s just a peek at one of my fantasy shops.  If I had two, the second would be…


Photos and dreamy gifts are compliments of:

Writings By Bluebirds


The Flower Patch

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Flour Girl

One of the things I like most about winter is the freedom to turn on the oven whenever I want.  Not that I can’t turn on the oven during any of the other seasons, it’s just that in winter the added heat in the house is appreciated.  Of course I can’t turn on the oven unless I’m going to cook or bake something.  That’s also a good thing, because usually anything that comes out of the oven is pretty yummy.

One lazy Saturday I discovered a couple of pears in the refrigerator that were on their last legs.  They were delicious pears but just too soft to eat like you would normally eat a piece of fruit.  Really, really juicy and pretty soft.  I was sad about the pears thinking I had to to ditch them when it occurred to me to make some pear bread.  So on that lazy Saturday afternoon I chopped up those pears and let the flour fly.

I found a recipe at Smitten Kitchen and made some very minor adjustments.  I ended up with a nicely warmed kitchen and two loaves of incredibly moist and flavorful pear bread, one to eat right away and one to freeze for later.  Husby loved it too!

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup butter, softened, or 3/4 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups sugar

2 cups peeled, cored, and diced ripe pears

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Heat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and lightly grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan or two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl, and whisk to mix everything well.

Peel and core pears, then dice them fairly finely.  You’ll want two cups total; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the butter or oil, eggs, sugar, diced pear, and vanilla, and stir to mix everything well. Scrape the pear mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until the flour disappears and the batter is evenly moistened.

Quickly scrape the batter into the prepared pans and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 60 to 70 minutes, or until the bread is handsomely browned and firm on top and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack or folded kitchen towel for about 10 minutes. Then turn it out onto a plate or a wire rack to cool completely, top side up. Serve it as is, sprinkle it with confectioners sugar or drizzle it with a simple glaze made from whisking 3 tablespoons buttermilk, a dash of vanilla and 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar together.

This bread is delicious by itself or with a healthy slathering of butter and tall glass of milk.

What are you warming up your kitchen with these days?

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