white gazpacho*

As the weather is heating up here in Southern California, the idea of turning on any cooking appliance is getting to be out of the question. So instead why not have a refreshing, raw summer soup for lunch or dinner. Pair this delicious soup with a crisp white wine and a slice of grilled bread and dinner is served. I veganized this recipe from one I found at a beautiful blog that I love to read. Slim Paley is a woman who lives the most beautiful life you can imagine in Santa Barbara. Her home, garden, photography and writing skills will leave you breathless. So here is my veganized version of white gazpacho.

In a blender mix until smooth...

2 lbs of green seedless grapes
1 medium peeled & diced cucumber
2 scallions
1/4 c unsalted almonds
1/2 c soy buttermilk
6 oz container of plain soy yogurt
1/4 c seasoned rice vinegar
1 T olive oil
1/2 to 1 t red pepper flakes (depending on how much heat you like)
salt - pepper
~Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, overnight is even better.
~To make the soy buttermilk, mix 1/2 T vinegar into 1/2 c plain soymilk and let sit 10 minutes
.~For Slim's original recipe and a much prettier picture of the soup, go here.
*No animals were harmed in the making of this soup.

edited note:  i have since simplified this recipe by...not bothering to make the buttermilk.  i use just plain soymilk.  i have also quit adding salt and pepper.  the red pepper is enough.  and i only use between 1 and 1 1/2 lbs of grapes.

a red lantern

I almost made it 60 days. Yesterday I broke down and bought this very old wire and red silk lantern to hang in my back entry. It was only a few dollars but it was not a necessity. The biggest lesson I've learned from this is that I'm very weak. At this point I'm not sure if I should continue with the experiment or just give up. I have not yet decided. I feel really Bad & I love this little lantern simultaneously.

small but charming

This is a story of Chinoiserie and Friendship. As you may recall, a couple of weeks ago I was bitten by the Chinoiserie bug by Beth at Chinoiserie Chic. I've been mad for it ever since. The very sweet Jane from the adorable blog Small But Charming (another great name for a blog) left me a comment saying she had wallpapered a small entryway in her home nine years ago and has never tired of it. She also said she had a small amount leftover and asked if I wanted it. Did I! So she wrapped it up and sent it across the country to me. The above pic is the actual wallpaper. The colorway could not be more perfect for my house. A friendship is born.

This is the tiny back entry to our home. It is so small it's almost impossible to photograph. It's too small for a table or really anything on the walls because you have to brush up against them just to walk by. I've never known what to do with this little area.

There wasn't a lot of wallpaper to work with so we decided to put up the old beadboard that we had removed from the front porch when we took down a wall and opened it up.

As you can see this is already a huge improvement.

Then we put up the wallpaper. It was a total of 5 panels that went up. We had about 18" left over, that's it.

I took down the awful little glass globe and put up a paper lantern. This will do until my shopping ban is over and then I'd love to find a little red lantern to put in it's place.

I think this now qualifies as truly Small but Charming, don't you?

more chinoiserie

I really apologize for making you look at more boring pictures of my dining room. I swear the changes I made look better in real life. We added bamboo blinds in here too, to combat the heat and damage done by the sun. Yesterday was in the high 90's and this room remained pretty cool.
I have had these candlesticks for some time. They really were not my style but I could not pass them up because they are very old and were only $10 for the pair. Now I'm thinking they have a Chinoiserie flair to them. If you click on the picture below, you can see that the leaves that hold the crystals drape in a pagoda style.

So all in all, it's more blue and white, bamboo blinds and some old candlesticks. Thanks for
continuing to indulge me and my venture into Chinoiserie.


chinoiserie chic

For the last couple of weeks I have been devouring a blog that I am completely smitten with. I cannot get enough of the images and advice that Beth gives at Chinoiserie Chic. Her own home is stunning and she spotlights the best of the best when it comes to chinoiserie. I love saying the name too. Chinoiserie Chic sounds so refined and elegant. But as you know I am on a Simply Stopping Shopping experiment that has both frustrated me and calmed me at the same time. So once again I went scrounging around my own house and found quite a bit that qualifies as chinoiserie (I think.) I had no idea there were so many ways to incorporate chinoiserie into a house like mine that is basically just black and white. This is what I've come up with for my bedroom. I would love any advice you can give regarding this subject. For instance I'm a bit confused regarding mixing English toile with chinoiserie. Any advice would be welcomed.

You will notice that I've added a gallery wall of photos and art that were in the basement but that I've always wanted to put in the house. I bit the bullet and put them in the bedroom because frankly there was nowhere else for them to go. I think it gives the room a bit of an English feel to it. These are the elements I assembled, a bird lamp, blue & white cachepot with orchid, bamboo blinds, toile drapes and blanc de Chine (learned that term from Beth) Buddha. These combined with the gallery wall has an overall chinoiserie feel. Ive added other touches of chinoiserie throughout the rest of the house and will be posting on them shortly. I'm really loving this look.

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