Countess Josephine

An Island Francophile with British roots rolled together with solid Americana, garnished with Asian/African heritage and a whisper of the Mediterranean, I love to practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty. Throwing some Sunshine your way - Enjoy!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Beautiful Beyond Measure - Virna Lisi




Virna Lisi 
November 1936 to December 2014
Lei è un angelo!

I have not written in a while but I could not let the passing of Virna Lisa Pieralisi go without writing a word. I was named after this unbelievable beautiful actress who seemed unassuming and graceful. Her talent unfortunately overshadowed by her sex symbol status and stunning good looks. I know she spoke Italian, French and English, but I am sure she spoke other languages too. 

There are so many with the same name out there, I wonder if they were named after her also (lots to live up to).

I wish I had met her; I have to believe she was as beautiful inside as outside. 

Le nostre condoglianze alla famiglia Pesci.

Links: IMDB - Virna Lisi
Movie Legends Channel on YouTube
Wiki Info




Thursday, August 7, 2014

Park Architecture

The old world charm in our local park never ceases to amaze me. As I looked for more patterns to practice my tangling skills, I found inspiration in all the stairs dotting our beloved Prospect Park. The following pictures were taken separately but all part of the same structure. 
Can't wait to see how the tangles turn out.







Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What's in a face?

I LOVE ART. I love how it makes kids squeal when they put something on paper, run over to you, eyes bright with confidence, jump up and down and say "see - see what I did".

In our children's eyes, it is not scary and it feels good to just let go and relax. We should look for every opportunity to relax and feel good and bring out the kid buried deep inside.

I try to do that as often as possible, this time through Faces 101 with Carla Sonheim.

*  *  *             

These were done with our left hand - super scary!

 
This one you could not take the pen off the paper - one continuous line - even scarier.












For this one, the eraser did all the work and these mysterious folks appeared.




Mummy - look at what I did!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Art of Whimsy Journaling

HAPPINESS!!

It all started with a YouTube video on whimsical faces. Always believing that art could heal any hurt, little me and big me set out to spend some girl time drawing fun happy scenes after work (everyday). Dare us to utter these sentiments aloud,  besides jewelry making,  cooking and inventing,  we are hooked on all things outrageously nonsensical and certainly out of proportion. And... we are learning valuable art techniques in between.

Tam, Wyanne , Suzi, Juliette (just to name few) have taken the Art of childlike fantasy to a level any adult would enjoy and appreciate. Furthermore,  the act of releasing pent up thoughts and emotions within the process of creating these incredible layers of colors  and shapes and symbols are certainly the least expensive way to see a psychologist.



Here are some links, we are especially excited about these artists because the work they do comes from the heart. Go ahead healing can be fun.


LINKS:

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Soufflé formage, sil vous plait!

Since the Cooking Channel has returned to our cable lineup, it has become a Saturday morning must.

Today we watched Luke Nuygen  visit his cousins in Paris and the history of France in Vietnam came alive. Le Soufflé, where every course is served... well as souffle was our favorite part.

We were so delighted by what Chef made, we wanted some immédiatement après.

Not wasting anytime, we googled the ingredients of a quick and easy cheese souffle and came up with the One Pot Chef from Australia (Sorry Luke we went with another Australian). His youtube instructions and ingredients were super simple and we had everything at home (with a couple of interchangeable ingredients).

Yeah - let's eat.

Thanks Chefs!

Here are the links:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Blob me an animal

Carla Sonheim is a creative genuis and she surrounds herself with other talented artists like herself.  I found her Art of Silliness just the right amount of easy for my busy schedule.

From her tutorials page, I tested out my skills and was so smitten, that I bought her online class "Blobimals Artist Books" - it was a lot of fun and so freeing. I have to say that I am finding blobs everywhere to draw inspiration from. I think people are wondering why I am taking pictures of sidewalk cracks.

As always, links are below and samples of my attempts follow - feedback welcomed.

my baby hog

Blobs in watercolor


and ... 

My little doll

Enjoy and next up -  Year of the Fairy Tale - keep you posted.
 
Links:

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Leftovers for Breakfast?

"Mommy? What's for Breakfast?" Mini Me asked.
"Leftovers" - I responded.
"Leftovers?!" she repeated confused.

What happened next?

We had Shrimp Scampi last night - so for breakfast I thought let's whipped up a quick pot of grits, saute some onions with cilantro and crisp up some bacon bits (okay we like our bits large) to go with the leftover shrimp.




"Delish Mom!" said the little people. Delightful hugs came with this compliment - yay!! I am so lucky!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

You're one in a Minion!

The last 5th Birthday celebration around here was a "Bad Case of Stripes" for my darling daughter - this time my son chose the famous and very yellow "Despicable Me Minions". Funny how it matches his personality  -- Muwahhhhaaa!

Since he wanted a little party with his class, this one was easy. We had cupcakes and goodie bags - viola! The kids made and decorated the cupcakes and picked out everything themselves - here is the photo log:

The Cup Cakes
            

The Goodie Bags and Paper Goods 
     

The Birthday Boy and his Minion for the day!
The Toy Surprises made it into our palm terrarium. 



Sunday, May 25, 2014

Bahamian Chicken Souse

My daughter’s school put together a recipe book to raise funds for PA initiatives. Parents along with their kids from Kindergarten to Grade 4 submitted their favorite Quick and Easy recipes. This was our submission. 

* * * * 

This is an old breakfast recipe from the Bahamas. It was originally made to cure the morning after hangover but has become a traditional dish served during breakfast often with Johnny Cake, toast or grits. It is also a great chicken soup alternative for the common cold.

Prepping: 30 minutes
Cooking: 60 minutes
Total: 1 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: unknown



INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs of chicken wings (cleaned and halved)
5 medium potatoes cubed
1 large onion chopped
10 (beads) whole allspice  (approx.)
3 limes
3 lemons
2 sour oranges (if not available use lime)
1 tablespoon of butter (optional)
Salt and black pepper to taste 
Water to cover
Hot Pepper to taste (preferably scotch bonnet)




cooking instructions:

In a large pot combine cleaned/halved chicken pieces, onions, and juice of 2 lemons, salt and black pepper and let marinate (15 minutes) while preparing potatoes.


 
Add potatoes, allspice, and water to cover chicken. Turn stove on high heat and bring pot to a boil about 25 minutes. Add the juice of one lime and two sour oranges.

Continued to boil on medium heat about 35 minutes, add butter (optional), salt, lime and hot pepper to taste (be careful). Boil until potatoes are done, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately or after cooling, let stand in refrigerator overnight.

Serve hot with Johnny Cake, buttered toast or grits on the side. Add lemon, lime or pepper if desired. Discard allspice.

Alternatives for Chicken: Grouper (aka Bahamian Boiled Fish)

Enjoy!


Friday, January 17, 2014

My Atlantean Roots

 
She is beautiful.  A muse of sorts. 
She loved being on the surface feeling the sun on her face and the wind in her hair.
 She comes from some where unknown. 
Beneath the surface. Near Bimini perhaps. 
Where the road long ago once bustled with fins and perhaps even feet. 
She surfaces for only one minute. It is forbidden.
You have seen her. A glimmer out the corner of your eye.
No ones believes she exists.

Her father has strict rules about contact.
But she yearns to meet the land people.
It makes him angry every time. Then winds blow with rage.
Ships enveloped by the waves on a sunny day.

Lives are lost. All her fault.She is sad.
Alone in her beauty and knowledge.
She leaves it all behind.
Banished by self to solitude.
Now the Bimini Road lays untouched.

 


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

TaDah - DIY Obsessed!

 
We, the Girls, have been smitten with DIY lately and honestly, YouTube has everything us gals of our "quick craft something in a hurry" is searching for. Yes, if you are wondering, it is very therapeutic.

This video queued up after another fantastic jewelry how-to and true to the video's claim, it was so easy; we made three! Some days they are worn as bracelets and other days as one necklace. If we had not run out of leather cording there probably would have been a belt in the ensemble. (Laughing boisterously.)

Okay, okay funny but true. We are simply obsessed with Simply Joules. Where on earth does she have the time for all of these tutorials. Ah but who cares, they are fantastic; we love them and yes, have to have 'em! Like-Like-Like! Darn, we can only click the Like button once.

Enjoy and happy DIY-ing.

How-to here: YouTube DIY Video
Thank you Julia (DIY Channel)
Her Blog: Simply Joules

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rainy Afternoon Project #44

 My daughter and I spent the afternoon bonding over beads, as there is no room for boredom in my family. For me, it is always a great way to de-stress and relax, as for her,  it's fun and in the end she has something pretty to wear.

This project seemed easy to make, however, we had everything except the cable ties. Shucks! One hour later, we were in Home Depot and the electric supplies aisle. We looked everywhere, but they only had the large black or white ties available. My hopes were dashed as those boring ties did not come in the size we needed. But we were not to leave empty handed. Our precious daughter who is half my height checked the shelves below one last time and scored big.  Who knew? Home Depot not only had the size we needed but they came fantastics bright colors too. We jumped up and down, yelled "Eureka!"and scurried off to the self check out. 

Life is grand,  we made two necklaces, a double strand for her and single for me. Gorgeous darling! Repeat after me - So Easy, So Much Fun and Sooooooo Pretty!

Thanks Mr. Montano!

Here are the links:

Monday, August 19, 2013

I'm Bored Afternoon - DIY Project #18

Boredom doesn't really run in my family,  but sometimes there is a half an hour or so between life for the fun stuff. That is usually when my daughter throws her doe eyes on me for a quick project. I fall for it every time.  Not because, she is cute, but because we love quick projects for instant gratification and who needs a reason for making jewelry girl time. 

Youtube and  Kollabora are our main go to sites. In no time we were beading and pinning. I made a blue tribal necklace and Noree went with pretty in pink. It took no time at all, and we got lots of compliments the next day.

For the how-to video, visit:

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Fire Up that Torch!

my work space and color choices
Yes, I took a class - Surprise Surprise!!

Glass blowing beads this time. I loved it and am still trying to figure out how I can fit a proper workspace and torch in my NYC apartment. Torches... apartment - hmmmm - maybe not. I mean they rent studio space outside for this, but when the creative bug hits you at midnight what do you do?

Anyway, I had an awesome teacher, Amy Lemaire and co-teacher, Maria Aroche and it was so unbelievably easy to catch on. But alas, patience or the lack thereof was my enemy. It took at least 30 minutes to make a small bead nice and round, and 45 minutes to make it beautiful. I think I forgot I was a beginner (way to excited) and two of them did not make it.

freshly cleaned
just out the kiln
The class was a two-day intensive at Brooklyn's very own Urban Glass and I did not want it to end. I fancied in my day dreams that I was going to be another Stephanie Sersich or Heather Trimlett and even to be as good as Amy, who by the way makes beads look like they created in another dimension; they are just beautiful. These ladies are so talented that I was green with envy.

glass rods - hard to choose
However, I was very lucky to get Amy as my instructor, she is brilliant. We are planning a trip to Upstate NY and to the Corning Museum. They have demonstrations everyday on glass blowing and even quick workshops for kids. Anyone, any age can make something. Very exciting stuff huh? Stay tuned - I will report back when ever we get the chance to go.

Links:
Amy Lemaire
Amy's Site
Maria Aroche
Urban Glass
Giving back at Urban Glass
Stephanie Sersich
Heather Trimlett
Corning Museum

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Princess on Etiquette and such!!


Introducing the new book by Princess Noraline Aubergine of Brooklynshire in the Land of New York.

My daughter and I developed this little-big book because she loved being a princess, not just pretending, but being an everyday Princess. I saw it as an opportunity to teach her about etiquette and positive living. Our hope is for little ladies around the world to use their time as a Princess to make their kingdom a better place. Tiara not included.
For little darlings age 4 to 7 - No brothers allowed!!

http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/156774-princess-in-training

This ebook is available for IPad's IBooks and print of course.

Merci, Danke, Gracias, Arigato and Thank you for stopping by.

Toujours!!!
Countess Josephine




Photo Credit: Little Princess by Cecile Graat of the Netherlands. Visit her at http://www.gracedesign.nl/

Saturday, July 7, 2012

In Eggs We Trust

"ah la peanutbutter sandwiches - poof!!" - Count, Sesame Street
Cough - Cough (smoke clearing)

 I am always looking for new ways to serve eggs for breakfast or anytime of the day for that matter. This moring was no different. After waking shortly after four and doing 45 mins of yoga for my aching back I channel surfed and surfed and surfed.

With nothing interesting on cable -hmmmmm - that's a mouthful, I moved onto  netflix.

I came across a movie called Today's Special. About a trained chef with big dreams and family obligations that derail his plans. This movie has heart and a lot of food. There were many heartwarming moments throughout the movie, but the one that struck me was the enigmatic but open book taxi driver/chef, who advise our star to follow his gut and heart along with his brain when cooking.

So taking my cues from all those famous for it, I...wait for it...
IMPROVISED!! 

I decided to throw something together and it was, according to my family, different and delicious - I like thoses Ds and really it was the same old EEEEEssss.

Oven: 375 degrees
Ingredients: four eggs whipped with splash of milk, sprinkled with red salt and black pepper
Poured: in a greased muffin pan
Layered: on ready-made Pilsbury Biscuit dough (5 large split into 10)
Topped: Mild cheese and folded honey baked ham slices
Baked: 25 - 30 mins
Served: immediately

Tips: Do not overfill (gets really messy as if bubbles over) and use judgement on time as biscuits and eggs should be cooked all the way through but not burnt. Also watch salt, as ham or bacon may accomodate for that.

Ideas:
Egg, Bacon Toast Cups


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Red, White & Cool

I subscribe to Martha Stewart Living and rest assured her team always comes up with the best ideas to celebrate every holiday you can imagine. The Fourth of July is no different from cupcakes to cool drinks and if it's a creation in red, white and blue with simplistic elegance, then it must be MSL.
My daughter, Miss Aubergine wanted to make cupcakes. I wanted a relaxing day off with nothing to do but lay around like the Countess that I am. So when I came across the recipe for Fruit Salad Ice Pops, an efficiency light bulb hit me over the head.

"YooHOOOOO Epiphany!!" "Why spend anytime in the kitchen making it hotter than necessary; make cool treats in honor of America's birthday and relax the whole time." - That's one smart lightbulb.

Thanking my forsight for having frozen all the fruit from the last trip to the farmer's market, (a smoothie is never too far away in our house) I gathered the necessary ingredients and tools and ...

popsicle holders - check,
popsicle molds - ahhhh no check

Miss Aubergine was playing with them and ahhh no ((shrugged shoulders)) - I guess we must improvise. I am beginning to think this blog is about improvising.

hmmmm!

Well, we have plastic cups and wooden popsicle sticks, strawberries, blueberries and white grape juice - sounds like we have a plan. As the original recipe stated, I compacted the fruit as much as possible into the cups and poured 100% grape juice in to cover. Into the freezer they went.  After an hour and a half, we served them on the stick and in bowls with a dollop of whipped cream. Thanks Martha - the kids were over joyed.

Easy tips: wedge sticks in middle of strawberries to ensure there is no movement and do not overfill - remember it expands in the freezer.

Celebrating Big and Keeping it Cool - Happy 4th Y'all!!

MSL Links and other fun pops we will be trying next:

Fruit Salad Ice Pops
Fire Cracker Pops
Striped Ice Pops
Beach Umbrella Pops

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hello Love...



Fancy a cucumber sandwich or crumpet?

Oscar, Oscar... are you there, darling?


Photo Link: Time for Tea 1 by Anissa Thompson

Brunch on a Whim!

Ham and Big Bacon Bits
Giada at Home's episode of  "Go Fly A Kite", where the family goes out on a picnic was simply divine. The recipes - simple, the flavors a delight. Of the three items she made including strawberry meringue clouds, we had the ingredients to make one of the dishes "as seen on tv". But that did not stop me from making two and making it my way.

Sauteed Shallots


The original recipe is linked below along with a few items I substituted for my version of "Just Baked".

Subbed: Garlic Basil Jack for Gruyere, Ham and Bacon for Pancetta, and Roasted Tomato Italian Bread for Country Style Bread.

Brunch was delish - mangiare tutti!!  
Buon Appetito!

Brunch Is Served
LINKS:

Gruyere and Spinach Bake
giada-at-home "go-fly-a-kite"