I am beyond excited to share the most amazing fruitcake, don’t scoff…it is addictively delicious! It is from my dear friend, TOM MANTEL, it is his family recipe and one he does not share. I DONT HAVE ENOUGH THANK YOU’S THAT I HAVE BEEN TRUSTED TO SHARE THIS WITH ALL OF YOU! You are in for a truly amazing treat. Since everyone has been baking bread for the first time during the Pandemic this should be a snap!
Why today you might ask, well for many years I have had the supreme pleasure of being with My Toms for a marathon shopping, cooking, eating…repeat…week, that would have begun yesterday and continued through the Friday after Thanksgiving. I might add, lots of giggling and lots of wine!!!!! Obviously that isn’t happening in this very strange year! Today would have been fruitcake making day, lots of fruitcakes, (along with other goodies we have added over the years). After being an apprentice for several years in the fruitcake ritual (and it is just that!!!!!) last year I was elevated to doing my own batter! Oh my the pressure…here I am very seriously, and a bit nervously, measuring the spices.
Oh yes, there is more yumminess…..first up from the kitchen of GREG HYDER with his Grandmother’s Icebox Cookies
“Here is my grandmothers icebox cookie recipe. The great things about these cookies were that you could make the dough and put it in the freezer as long as you need. Or she would make the cookies in the fall and then cut them out and freeze them and bring them out for the holidays. Because they do last so the durability of these cookies as one of the best aspects about them they’re very simple but they’re easy to cut out in shapes which is one of the fun things she would also add colors to them and sprinkles so you could do stars or Christmas trees or whatever.”
From my dear friends at THE DEARBORN, courtesy of Clodagh Lawless, Proprietor, The Dearborn
THE DEARBORN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE
Yield: approx. 12 cookies
½ lb butter
4oz granulated sugar
7 oz brown sugar
1 pinch vanilla
1 ¾ Cup AP flour
1 pinch cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 pinch salt
2 Cup chocolate chips (mix milk, dark and white)
1Cup chocolate chips separated from above (for topping)•
Preheat oven to 330F • in a large mixer cream butter and sugars with paddle until light and fluffy. • Scrape down sides of bowl• Add eggs one at a time on low speed• Scrape down sides of bowl again• Mix in dried ingredients until well mixed. • Add in chocolate chips• Combine until just mixed, fold dough by hand to ensure even distribution of chocolate. • Scoop chocolate chip cookies into half dollar sizes balls and top with reserved chocolate chips. • Bake at 330F for 12-14 minutes• Top each cookie with course sea salt to finish (optional)
From MYRA REILLY, don’t these sound delicious….I’m definitely adding them to my cookie repertoire.
ANNETTE FINDLING’S TOFFEE NUT TREASURES
PAMELLA CAPITANINI…Italian Sugar Cookies for Christmas
1/2 cup crushed mini candy canes or peppermint candies
1/4 cup sugar
How to make
STEP 1Heat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
STEP 2Combine 3/4 cup sugar, butter, egg, vanilla and peppermint flavoring in bowl; beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; beat at low speed until well mixed. Stir 1/4 cup crushed candy into dough.
STEP 3Stir remaining 1/4 cup crushed candy into 1/4 cup sugar.
STEP 4Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls; roll in sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets.
STEP 5Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Do not over bake. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to cooling rack. Cool completely.
– To crush candy canes or peppermint candies, place into resealable plastic food bag; smash with rolling pin or bottom of heavy saucepan.
– For a more sparkling affect, mix finely crushed candy canes with coarse grain sugar.
JIM ELLSWORTH AND MARK OLLEY…Cherry Chocolate Nut Cookies
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 10 min./batchYIELD: 5 dozen.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup 2% milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
2. Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.
From ELENOR HAWLEY’S recipe box…Elenor has shared several of her delicious recipes for past nenasnotes blog posts. Here are two more.
DAVID SANCHEZ shares childhood memories with his MOM’S CHOCOLATECOOKIE
A few more from the Ivon cookie collection. First from the original Betty Crocker Cookbook…I left the edge of the pages so you can see the age. I haven’t made these many many years but they were always a hit!
Probably the best Linzer cookie…from the original Silver Palate Cookbook…you can, of course, do whatever shape you want but we all need some “loving“ right now so why not hearts!
FRANGO MINT COOKIES….beyond delicious!
• 1 c. Butter, softened
• 1/2 c. Confectioners’ sugar, plus more to coat cookies
• 2 c. cake flour
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 1 c. finely chopped pecans
• Frango mints, cut crosswise
Cream butter with sugar. Add flour and vanilla. Add chopped pecans. Chill dough for one hour. Take 1 T. of dough and wrap around frango mint. Bake for 15 min. until light brown, let cool on baking pan for 5 min, then roll in confectioners’ sugar and place on rack to cool completely.
LIZZIES….one of my most favorite cookies….
¼ cup butter ½ cup packed brown sugar 2 eggs 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 ½ teaspoons ground nutmeg ½ teaspoon ground cloves 3 cups raisins
½ cup bourbon
4 cups pecan halves
3 cups candied cherries (I like more red than green!)
⅓ pound diced candied lemon peel
Soak fruits in bourbon at least 1 hour to plump. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Cream butter, gradually adding sugar and eggs. Add dry ingredients, then fruit and nuts. Mix well. Drop from teaspoon onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 15 minutes. Store in an airtight container.
BONUS RECIPE….TO HAVE WITH YOUR COOKIES AND TOMMY’S FRUITCAKE
JEFFREY BANKS EGG NOG
“This is the time of year when my favorite drink is : EGG NOG. Sure, you can buy it prepared but it is just as easy to make yourself at home. Here’s how:
12 large eggs
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 cups whole milk ( divided)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
I teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Freshly grated nutmeg
In a heavy saucepan , whisk together eggs, sugar and salt. Gradually add 4 cups milk;cook and stir over low heat until a thermometer reads 160 degrees, 30- 35 minutes. Do not allow to boil. Transfer right away to a large bowl. Stir in vanilla, nutmeg and remaining milk. Place bowl in ice bath, stirring until mixture is cool. Refrigerate covered until cold at least 3 hours.
To serve, best cream until soft peaks form. Whisk into cooled milk mixture, Sprinkle with grated nutmeg before serving.
Now I love my EGG NOG plain but you can also serve with dark rum or bourbon for a more adult beverage. Cheers and Happy Holidays!”
nenasnotes….I add Captain Morgan’s Gingerbread Rum, beyond delicious! PS I LOVE EggNog!
Hopefully next year we can all be together and have an in person Cookie Exchange!!!!
I was asked to interview Sydney Sadick for a Costume Council of The Chicago History Museum event on Tuesday, December 8th (see detailed information at the bottom of this post it is a not to be missed event!) I of course agreed, as you know my loyalties are deep with the organization. To get to know each other we arranged a phone chat last week. I’ll be honest with you I had no idea what to expect, I had read the book, so was a bit prepped for the call. Well all I can say is she had me at Hello! What a charming, delightful, savvy young lady. I immediately wanted to share her with all of you and asked her if she would answer my Profile Questionnaire…she agreed….now you can meet Sydney….enjoy!
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB
I landed an internship at the Daily Front Row, the long-running bible of New York Fashion Week. They quickly submersed me into the fashion industry, sitting front row at NYFW, covering events like the Met Ball, interviewing celebs and designers. It was truly the job to put me on the fashion map and was certainly a great platform.
BRIEFLY DESCRIBE YOUR MOST RECENT OCCUPATION
I’m an on-air fashion and lifestyle expert, regularly hosting fashion segments for shows like the Today Show, E! News, E! Daily Pop, Inside Edition, NBC New York Live, Good Morning Washington, and more. I present fashion trends under $100 as well as commentate on red carpet fashion. Additionally, I host a daily Instagram live show called Lunchtime with Sydney to make people feel less along during the quarantine lunchbreaks (@SydneySadick) where each day I bring on a different guests, like: Tiger King’s Carole Baskin, designer Isaac Mizrahi, artist Ashley Longshore, journalist Mika Brzezinski, actress Jaclyn Smith, shoe mogul Steve Madden, etc. And, I just launched my debut book, Aim High: How to Style Your Life and Achieve Your Goals! Plus, I host weekly Instagram lives on Fridays—a spinoff of LTWS—for the Today Show’s new millennial platform, TMRWxToday.
WHEN DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF YOUR TALENT
I noticed my ability to be confident on-camera when I was in high school. I was in our broadcast journalism club, and I fell in love with telling stories.
WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD “MADE IT” EXPLAIN
I honestly feel like I’m on this ladder that I’m constantly climbing and don’t want to stop climbing. I love challenging myself to do bigger and better things every single year, butappearing on Hoda & Jenna (the Today Show) for the first time definitely changed things.
HOW YOUR ORIGINAL PASSION BROUGHT YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW
I’ve always had a love for fashion and telling stories. Every step I’ve taken, starting out from the class I decided to take at Harvard University Summer School as a high school student to a student at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs to my first job out of college as an editor at the Daily Front Row…all of these steps have served as platforms to where I am today.
WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN YOUR ALTERNATE CHOICE AS A CAREER….WAS THERE ONE
I’ve always flirted with the idea of being an FBI agent. It’s not fully off my list yet of things I’d like to do at some point.
YOUR FAVORITE BOOK, MOVIE, LIST THE FOLLOWING,IN ORDER OF PREFERENCE…THEATER (LEGIT, MUSICALS), BALLET, OPERA, SYMPHONY, TYPE OF MUSIC YOU LIKE TO LISTEN TO, LOCAL RESTAURANT
I have many favorite movies: My Best Friend’s Wedding, Pretty Woman, Serendipity, The Holiday. I listen to a lot of dance/house music, like Galantis. It basically sounds like a dance party wherever I go. I must admit I loved the Fifty Shades of Grey series. I enjoy every single show on Broadway, and I really do miss going because I used to go so much pre-Covid, but I particularly loved Tootsie!
I’ve played the piano since I was 5. I love playing tennis. Traveling was a huge part of my life pre-covid. I also like to knit.
My city home is very traditional, old-school sort of New York. I’ve currently been spending lots of time in my family’s Hamptons home which is modern. I would say I’m more modern and when it becomes more realistic to lie full-time in Manhattan again, I would like to transition to a more modern aesthetic.
WHO WOULD YOU HAVE AT YOUR FANTASY DINNER (LIVING OR DEAD AND BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOURSELF!) AND WHAT WOULD YOU SERVE (10-12 GUESTS)
Me, Jennifer Lopez, Michelle Obama, Miss Piggy, Ryan Seacrest, Wolf Blitzer, Dolly Parton, Bradley Cooper, Oscar de la Renta, John Mayor, Amal Clooney, and Jamie Foxx. I would have Cipriani cater a luncheon comprised of all of their delicious pastas, Bellini’s, their cucumber, corn, and tomato salad, the beet, goat cheese, and asparagus salad, and their famous meringue cake with cappaucinos and espresso
FAVORITE VACATION SPOT VISITED AND/OR ON YOUR GO TO LIST
I regularly travel to London and Paris for getaways with my family. I love all of the restaurants, shopping, the museums, culture. Dubai is probably my favorite place I’ve ever been to. It’s so futuristic and exciting. Palm Beach is where I spend most of my free time. My family has had a home there since I was born and it’s like a second home. I love dining at classics like Café L’Europe and Renato’s, shopping on Worth Avenue and just lounging at the pool at our home.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING MOST IN YOUR FREE TIME?
These days, talking to my friends over Facetime. I really miss being out and about and just living life, going to fun places. I’m also currently enjoying Schitt’s Creek and watching fun holiday movies.
FAVORITE WORK OF PUBLIC ART
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED
I first and foremost want to be remembered as someone who was always kind and treated everyone with respect. Aside from that, I want to be known as the best in my field, for breaking boundaries in media and fashion and paving the way for future generations to go after their dreams in these fields too. And eventually, being a great wife and mom, but that’s far out. Ha!
A FAVORITE RECIPE
I’m like Carrie Bradshaw, sorry, I don’t cook! But my mom is an incredible cook—it skips generations in our family—and seriously should be a chef. I love her sweet and sour meatballs with plum jam over buttered noodles, her mini chocolate cheesecake cupcakes, and her amazing Thanksgiving dinner!
I wanted to do a Holiday Cookie Exchange Party this year…so much for best laid plans/thoughts…that, obviously, won’t be happening. Next best thing…asking my friends to share their favorites. I’ve profiled or shared articles on everyone participating. I’m posting early enough so you will have time to bake some classics and perhaps add some new recipes to your annual celebrations. I’m posting the recipes as they have been sent to me, on cards, typed, some with photos, etc. I am getting so many great recipes I will post PART 2 next week….stay tuned!
Every year from my first childhood memories to Ruthy joining Daddy with the angels (I’m sure they are busy making all our traditional favorites….both were superb cooks and Ruthy, in particular, loved to bake and was perfection in the kitchen!). We would add to our list each year and often made 40-50 different kinds, you read that correctly, all were shared with relatives, friends and later, co-workers. I fondly remember sitting on the floor surrounded by cookie tins with Ruthy making several huge trays to take to her staff at Saks Fifth Avenue, Old Orchard and later at Marshall Field’s, State Street. (FYI she followed me into retail after Daddy died, she was a stay at home Mom doing lots of volunteer work, and lots and lots of baking and cooking!) Again, as long as I can remember, we hosted a Christmas Open House on Christmas Eve, in addition to a mega buffet there were trays of our cookies. And, of course, take home tins!
I’m kicking off the recipes with what is my all time favorite…Russian Tea Cakes featured in the original Betty Crocker Cookbook, the go to cookbook in the Ivon cookbook collection….I haven’t counted my cookbooks but at least a hundred or so…I’ve given many away over the years. I happen to love reading cookbooks!
NENA’S RUSSIAN TEA CAKES
MIKE HINES….MOLASSES COOKIES….warm and cozy soft and chewy!
JACK McCORD…COUSIN ELCY’S BOURBON BALLS. “nenas note…I didn’t ask for a story behind the cookie….but love this and must share it.”
“Cousin Elcy always came for Thanksgiving and Christmas, from Decatur to Springfield. She and my father, second cousins, had been close since childhood. A bit older than Dad, she retired from Decatur to a stylish new building on North Lake Shore Drive. I think of her every time I pass it now. Elcy was a good cook and had grown up with and loved good food. After we pushed ourselves away from the holiday dinner table, she could often be found in the kitchen picking at the delicious bits on the turkey carcass. And perhaps another piece of pie? All the while, I was prodded to play Christmas carols on the piano. We loved it when Elcy came to visit – she was animated, up on current events, mildly opinionated and took interest in what we school kids were doing. She and Dad talked a lot. She also brought cookies – in ribboned Fannie Mae boxes she had saved and lined in foil. There must have been eight or ten kinds, all lined up in rows. This is one of them……”
1 1/2 cups (340g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (120ml) canola oil
1 cup (225g) granulated sugar
1 cup (200g) confectioners’ sugar
2 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
rainbow sprinkles, for decorating
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium speed for about a minute. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the oil, and then add the two sugars, the eggs, and the vanilla. Make sure to stir well after each of the additions. Slowly add the flour mixture, about a quarter at a time. Mix just until the flour disappears. The dough will be soft. Refrigerate for at least an hour before proceeding (up to 3 days).
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop (or up to a 5 oz scoop), divide the dough into balls. Roll each ball in rainbow sprinkles until thoroughly coated. Place them on baking sheets with enough room for them to spread (if you are making giant cookies you will probably only get 4 per sheet). Use your fingers to flatten each ball slightly.
Bake for 12-20 minutes, depending on the size. Bake until the edges start to turn golden. Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
ROBERT NEUBERT….CHOCOLATE CHUBBIES (the ultimate chocolate cookie – a dessert in itself)
Yields: 36 cookies
8 ounces semisweet chocolate3 ounces unsweetened chocolate4 ounces sweet butter3 large eggs1.1/4 cup sugar2 teaspoons vanilla extract1.1/2 ounces cocoa powder2/3 cup all-purpose flour1/2 teaspoon baking powder1/4 teaspoon salt1.1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips2 cups toasted pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 3 cookie sheets or bake on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Melt chocolate squares with butter in a double boiler over simmering water. Cool to room temperature. Beat eggs with sugar in a large bowl until ribbons form when beater is lifted. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl and stir into chocolate mixture. Add pecans and chocolate chips. Do not over mix. 2 ounce scoops for large cookies – bake 12 minutes3/4 ounce scoops for small cookies – bake 8 minutes Drop cookies on to cookie sheet setting 2 inches apart. Bake until barely firm, with tops just slightly cracked. Cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.
JEFFREY BANKS…..SCOTTISH SHORTBREAD
TOM MANTEL…MOM’S NO BAKE TRIPLE LAYER BARS
½ cup butter
¼ cup sugar
5 TBSP Cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg beaten
1 ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
¾ cup coconut
½ cup chopped nuts
In the top of a double boiler melt ½ cup butter, add sugar, cocoa, vanilla and beaten egg to melted butter. Cook for 5 minutes remove from heat. Add cracker crumbs, coconut and nuts. Press lightly into greased 9×9 baking pan and refrigerate
¼ cup butter
2 TBSP milk or cream
2 TBSP dry instant vanilla pudding
2 cups powdered sugar
Cream ¼ cup butter, add dry pudding, powdered sugar and beat until creamy. Spread over crumb mixture and chill.
¾ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 TBSP butter
Melt chocolate with 2 TBSP butter cool and spread overcreamed mixture. Chill again. Cut into small squares before completely firm so chocolate does not crumble
MARCELLAS REYNOLDS…Yummy Sugar Cookies, Quick, Fast, and…In a Hurry
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup of sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Powdered sugar for rolling out the dough
1. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in a large bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until the mixture pulls away from the bowl’s side. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for two hours.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
3. Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove one wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If the dough has warmed during rolling, place a cold cookie sheet on top for ten minutes to chill. Cut into the desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on a greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve nude or slather with icing or FROSTING as desired.* Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
*I prefer frosting over icing! But I don’t like food coloring at all.
Has shared three favorites from her recipe box. FYI Barbara shares her excellent baking skills with many potluck events and cookie exchanges.
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups flour
Filling can be apricot, raspberry or strawberry preserves, or a nut mixture..Mix together cream cheese, butter and egg and flour. Form into a ball, place in plastic wrap and refrigerate for three hours or more. Roll out cold ball of dough on a board dusted with flour, until about 1/8 inch thick. Cut dough into circles. Top each circle with teaspoon of filling. Fold over sides to middle and pinch closed. Bake in 350 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool, then dust with powdered sugar.
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup (two sticks)cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1 teaspoon almond extract
Zest of one orange
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice (optional)
If desired, use additional sugar to coat cookies before baking. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or use silicone sheet.
Combine cranberries and 1/4 cup of the sugar in food processor and process until cranberries are broken down into smaller pieces, set aside. Combine remainder of the sugar and the flour in a large bowl. Use a pastry cutter to cut in the cold cubes of butter, for very fine crumbs. Stir in the almond extract, cranberries and sugar mixture, orange zest (and orange juice if using). Knead the dough with your hands until it comes together and forms a ball. Shape the ball into a log, about two inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours or more.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut cold cookie log into 1/4 inch slices. You can coat the slices with granulated sugar if desired. Bake cookies for 12 to 15 minutes until golden. Do not overbake. Makes about 21/2 dozen cookies.
If you throw up your hands at baking Holiday Cookies, I would suggest you check out my new food obsession TATE’s Bake Shop Gingersnap Cookies…they are beyond delicious, additive and seasonal. What makes them special, bits of candied ginger! To die for. This is not a sponsored post just wanted to share with you. Local stores carry their chocolate chip cookies, which are delicious as well, check and see if you can find them. Or go to https://wwwtatesbakeshop.com/shop-online
Start baking and/or eating…do share your favorites so I can do a Part 3!
I have recently become totally obsessed with botanical prints. I love them for so many reasons, such as the incredible detail, the vast variety, the decorating possibilities and on and on… I wanted to share not only a very small sampling of various themes, but also a few examples of how to work them into your decorating. Some of the photos are mine others have been Pinterest sourced, I’ll identify my photos the rest are Pinterest photo credit unknown.
In doing my research, I had to, of course, include the Audubon series which featured the worlds most expensive book. Lucky us that facsimiles are available to us, many many books on Audubon and you can visit his charming home in Mill Grove, Pennsylvania as well as the informative www.audubon.orgsite. The following is taken from the site.
“Audubon’s place in history was assured by the way in which he forever changed how birds were illustrated. While replicating physical features with uncanny veracity, he incorporated narrative elements and aesthetic touches that not only made birds come alive in their natural environments, but also lifted the images to the status of fine art.
His famous Birds of America stands out as Audubon’s crowning achievement. These 453 life-sized paintings of north American birds were remarkable for their accuracy of color and realism. After the publication of Birds of America, Audubon issued a highly successful, smaller 7-volume octavo edition. He also compiled an important work documenting mammals; The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America. That collection comprised 150 hand-colored lithographs in 3 volumes.
In addition to his artistic talents, Audubon was a prolific writer. His journals and Bird Biographies documented his observations of the land that he traveled during the first half of the 19th century, as well as the people of the emerging American nation.”
Since we are headers into the dead of winter….here is a bit of Spring. We can either wait for our forced bulbs to bloom inside or push their heads up through the ground in a few months or we can enjoy their beauty all year round with a botanical!
One of my all time favorites is Pierre-Joseph Redouté, “who was a painter and botanist from Belgium, known for his watercolours of roses, lilies and other flowers at Malmaison. He was nicknamed “the Raphael of flowers” and has been called the greatest botanical illustrator of all time”. Cited….Wikipedia
My apologies for the glare and my elbow, but I wanted to share this with you. Eight vintage Redoute prints hung on Ralph Lauren rose patterned wallpaper (also the duvet) in a guest bedroom in a Harbor Country estate. Love the impact of the symmetry of the rose prints against the coordinating wallpaper,
While doing research for this post I found one of the first and highly regarded botanical print illustrators was a woman (as were her daughters!), “Maria Sibylla Merian, also known as Anna Maria Sibylla, (born April 2, 1647, Frankfurt am Main [Germany]—died January 13, 1717, Amsterdam, Netherlands), German-born naturalist and nature artist known for her illustrations of insects and plants. Her works on insect development and the transformation of insects through the process of metamorphosis contributed to the advance of entomology in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.” From the Encyclopedia Britannica website.
Butterfly prints en masse. Image from Pinterest.
I have found many superb examples of this extraordinary art form at the Randolph Street Market in many of the diverse vendor collections and make it a point to pour over the amazing pieces in PAPER PATTY’S Booth, it was always my first stop at the monthly RSM, which is currently on hiatus. My photos are all from Patty’s vast collection all incredibly priced. She loves to tell the story behind each of her treasures….but that is true of every vendor at the wonderland of curiosities that is RSM!
Here are a couple from her fern grouping, the first from my art collection…I have kept it unframed and next to my desk so I can enjoy it while working.
Bird nests… mad for all the detail, but quite frankly that is what botanicals are all about.
Then, of course, some birds….these three images found on Pinterest.
The next three taken by me.
For some unknown reason, at the moment, owls are appealing to me whether a botanical or photograph, you might check my Pinterest owl board, who knew there were so many different owls in the world, not me, for sure. Absolutely fascinating. The images below mine from PAPER PATTY’S.
Make a wall an inspiration board, easy to change as the mood suits you.
More inspiration…I might also suggest using inexpensive botanicals as gift wrap tied with twine or use to decoupage boxes or a piece of furniture like I did….but that is a story I’ll save for another time!!
Collecting botanical prints can be narrowed down to one subject or perhaps many…I would suggest you group your collections by category or color or theme…oh why not just play with your treasures. As always I have included some book suggestions. My best advice when starting or adding to your collections buy what you like and buy it when you see it. Let’s not ever have buyers remorse! Enjoy the journey…
All photos unless otherwise noted from Pinterest credits unknown.
EXCLUSIVELY FOR RANDOLPH STREET MARKET BY NENA IVON, REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION
What happened 11 years ago on this very day, Friday, November 13, 2009….I hosted the uber talented Christian Siriano, with his exquisite first collection, at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago…that is true and something else happened…I closed the door to my office and my lifetime at Saks!
Designer handbags…it seems to me that this is a trend that is one of the most classic of all and one that isn’t going to go away. Usually a major investment, think the Birkin or Kelly bags for examples but if you think of how many years you will treasure your purchase it makes good sense. Here is a category that totally exemplifies “buy the best you can” and if you are lucky you can find that perfect vintage designer handbag. Be sure you buy authentic pieces, talk with the dealers, train your eye, do your research and remember any vintage fashion is the perfect answer to sustainability!
Okay…let’s take a look at the origins of some of the most iconic designer handbags.
I asked my friend, Stephanie Lake, to share some insight into Bonnie Cashin’s unique vision on handbags and here are her comments and photos. A million thanks, Stephanie, for sharing your detailed information and wonderful photos. A nenasnotes….I had the “Cashin-Carry” bag selected for me by none other than the Uber talented Bonnie Cashin…herself, lucky me!
All images courtesy the Bonnie Cashin Archive, photographed by Charles Lee for Bonnie Cashin: Chic is Where You Find It.
From Dr. Stephanie Lake, Bonnie Cashin’s heir, owner of her personal design archive, and the world’s foremost authority on Bonnie’s work:
“Bonnie’s foray in the handbag market forever changed the accessories industry. The tally of her fashion firsts in this category alone is jaw-dropping, and her impact in never-ending.”
“Her first handbag, referred to as a “Cashin-Carry,” was a soft leather sling bag available in a rainbow of leather and textile options, and introduced in 1955. It was her opening salvo to disrupting the accepted notion that women’s handbags were to be dainty, fussy, rigid and neutral.”
“Bonnie further revolutionized the accessory industry when she introduced what Women’s Wear Daily referred to in 1962 as fashion’s “first snob tote,” ushering in the very new concept of the “it-bag.” These signature shopping bag totes were offered in three sizes, meant to be nestled one inside another, or worn “à trois” along the arm, equipping modern women on the go with the range of handbags needed for diverse activities throughout the day, outside of the home.”
“Her concept of carrying more than one bag is the point of origin for today’s commuter bag. Her belt-bags, too, introduced in the 1960s, unleashed generations of iterations on the concept, variously beloved or reviled as today’s “fanny packs” and “bum bags.”
“Bonnie was the first to design handbags together with all of the coordinating accessories that a woman may need. “No one has attempted this before,” she remarked of the idea that wallets, coin purses, notebooks, eyeglass cases—and even flasks—should accompany each handbag design. The concept was so novel that retailers had to reconfigure their handbag departments to display her entire line together. Moreover, each accessory was designed as an adjunct to her clothing designs, thereby providing her clients a total “Cashin look” decades before fashion licensing would allow for this approach to become mainstream.”
“Perhaps most staggering is Cashin’s introduction of the term and the concept of using “hardware,” in utilizing industrial closures for all categories of high fashion. The closures on her garment and accessory designs were adapted from industrial sources, meant to withstand wear, tear, and stress points, open with ease, and unfailingly provide the greatest security.”
“Her bold brass zippers were the same as those used in tents. Her hook and eye closures were adapted from equestrian tack and dog leashes. Most famously, her brass turn lock, which she used on all clothing and accessory designs from 1964 unto her retirement in 1985, was inspired by the hardware used to batten down the top of the convertible sports car that she drove through the Hollywood Hills each day as she commuted to work at Twentieth Century-Fox in the 1940s. Her single, brilliant, iconoclastic idea grew to become the fashion world’s most iconic closure, omnipresent and in constant use by untold brands and designers, including Coach, where she became their first-ever handbag designer in 1962.”
The original quilted Chanel handbag was created in 1929, it was fashioned after soldier’s packs. In February 1955, the so called 2.55, the shoulder-carried bag debuted and totally changed handbag history. Coveted to this day, it comes in all colors, many skins and it is always on display in the Chanel seasonal presentations. The “pocket” in the outside back of the bag is to hold money. Always one of the top sellers in the Chanel boutiques and to be found at auction and, of course at RSM. Again be sure you are purchasing the authentic bag. I have the good fortune to have both a black calfskin and a brown calfskin version in my wardrobe, plus a small black satin version, my go to for special occasions…they are treasures to me.
Two of the most iconic and certainly the most collectible come to us from Hermès, the Birkin and the Kelly bags….let’s take a brief look into their beginnings and the two women who inspired their creations.
THE BIRKIN BAG
“In 1984, the English actress, Jane Birkin and Hermès, Jean-Louis Dumas meet ten thousand feet above the ground. The young mother laments that she cannot find a shopping bag big enough to carry her daughter Lou’s bottles. No sooner said than done, the empathetic, clever Monsieur Dumas designs a deep and supple holdall. It has distinguishing features such as a polished plaque, a swivel clasp, and, of course, the house’s signature saddle stitching. A legend is born.” From the Hermès website.
Celebrities with their Birkin bags
THE KELLY BAG
The Kelly bag, formerly known as Sac à dépêches when it was first designed in 1923, was chosen by Alfred Hitchcock in to be carried by Grace Kelly in the film To Catch A Thief 1955, with the wardrobe designed by Edith Head and filmed in Monaco where Kelly meet her future Prince. It became widely known when Kelly carried it to conceal her pregnancy.
Perhaps one of the most iconic and recognizable of all logos….the company was formed in 1854 and made luggage, beginning with stackable trunks, for royalty and the elite.
Let’s look at the launch of some of the more collectible of the bags…
1930, the Keepall bag was introduced.
1930s, the Alma bag was created by Gaston-Louis Vuitton. It is believed that it was originally made for Coco Chanel as a custom order. Originally, the bag was named ‘Champs of Elysees’ after the famous road in Paris. The original Alma was the creation of Gaston-Louis Vuitton, who named it for the Alma Bridge, a span that connects two Parisian neighborhoods.
1932, LV introduced the Noé bag when a champagne house contacted LV to make a bag that would hold 6 bottles of champagne. The bag still serves this function – 4 bottles with the bottom down and the 5th inverted and nestled between the others. This drawstring bag comes in two sizes – the Noe, and the smaller Petit Noe. The name Noe is French for Noah, who was not only famous for loading animals on the Arc two by two, but for his ability to consume wine.
1965, film star Audrey Hepburn made a special request to Louis Vuitton to make a mini version of their Keepall duffle just for her. Louis Vuitton obliged Audrey’s request and created what is now known by fashionista’s and handbag lovers as the “Speedy 25”. Now created in 25, 30, 35, and 40, as well as a Bandouliere style that includes a strap.” Taken from a timeline of Vuitton bags on YOOGI’S CLOSET website an excellent reference.
A nenasnote……I have two versions of what I call the roll bag, actually the Papillon bag…and one is a signed piece….shall I share a naughty Nena story, okay, I will. Full disclosure……Many, many years ago I was attending a Chicago Bears game (I’m a life long fan!) with some friends. I was stopped by the usher (before we had the security we have now) and he asked “ Do you have beer in that bag?” My response was “Do I look like I have beer in my bag??!! He said no and in we went….the end of this story, six cans of beer fit perfectly…need I say more!!!!
“In 1997, Marc Jacobs became the company’s artistic director, introduced first RTW line and introduced the Vernis collection. Marc Jacobs brought a much needed youthful spirit to LV and spurred collaborations with famous artists: In 2001, Stephen Sprouse created the Graffiti and Roses lines; in 2003, Takashi Murakami created the Monogram Multicolore and Cherry Blossom lines; in 2008, artist Richard Prince created the Aquarelle, or more commonly known as the Watercolor Speedy. A reinterpretation of the iconic bag, this style features the classic Monogram pattern with a smudged painted fashion. There are 17 paint colors that are used in the smudging of this Speedy. These were released in white and brown. In 2012, Yayoi Kusama created “Infinitely Kusama” collection. Additionally, Marc Jacobs also introduced LV to collaborating with numerous street artists.” From YOOGI’S CLOSET website
Vuitton features limited editions each year….here are some from the Marc Jacobs collaborations.
What to do with your Louis Vuitton bag collection…..just a thought!!!!!
Books for more researching…
With the exception of the Bonnie Cashin images, all photos found on Pinterest no photo credits available.
MY BLOG POST REPRINTED, WITH PERMISSION,FROM THE RANDOLPH STREET MARKET BLOG
Chicago has had a long history of Internationally recognized design, one such company is Eisenberg. The original company, Eisenberg & Sons, Inc. was formed in 1914 as a women’s clothing and perfume company. In the late 1930’s the jewelry was made to enhance the dresses as pins and soon the brilliant rhinestone pieces outshone the garments themselves. An interesting marketing ploy became an industry star. The Eisenberg Jewelry, Inc. was officially launched in 1940.
Only the highest quality of metals, plating, and brilliant Swarovski Austrian crystal rhinestones were used in the construction of the jewelry.
From Bel Air Jewelry at Randolph Street Market. Photo taken by Nena Ivon.
I particularly love the Christmas tree pins, perfect for gift giving or adding to your own collection. Stay tuned for a Christmas Tree Pin post!
Eisenberg did many ads to promote their special pieces. I think these show the various eras with the model’s hair, makeup etc….but the jewelry is definitely timeless.
When I started in the fashion industry Eisenberg Ice was the jewelry to own and was quite recognizable. Many of the pieces were not marked and have had many incarnations (a post unto itself!)…as always when collecting do your research for authenticity, work with reputable dealers is always a must.
Bows were huge….they are my favorites….
A few more examples too whet your appetite….
A book to aid your research and collecting, of course…
I have concentrated on pins/brooches in this post, there are many other examples of Eisenberg pieces…I think you can understand why, when the pieces were afixed to the ready-to-wear garments, many went missing and a new company was born, lucky for us who collect vintage jewelry!!!!!
All photos, unless otherwise noted, found on Pinterest, photo credits unknown.
Reprinted with permission from Randolph Street Market.
I have always been a huge fan of vintage jewelry…especially Victorian pieces but became interested in the beauty and uniqueness of Miriam Haskell’s creativity many years ago and, in fact, owned many examples. Just in time for the Holidays a look at this easy to recognize brand. The iconic pieces are extremely varied and the photo above exemplifies, in my opinion, the Haskell look, pearls, gold and a few sparkles!
A bit of the history of the house of Haskell…
Miriam Haskell was born in Tell City, Indiana and attended the University of Chicago. She established her jewelry business in New York in 1926, following the lead of Gabrielle Chanel who spearheaded “faux bijoux” and was an instant success with the social set.
Miriam Haskell opened her first boutique in 1926, “le bijou de l’heure” in a New York City Hotel.
She was not a designer herself, the designs were done by Frank Hess from 1926-1960 when Robert F. Clark became head designer. The pieces were rarely signed and finding a piece from pre-1950’s is one you would want to add to your collection. The jewelry was thought to be the only American competition to Chanel and Schiaparelli.
It was highly collected by Joan Crawford, who owned a huge collection.
As well as Lucille Ball (who wore pieces on I Love Lucy!) and many other celebrities.
The forties and fifties pieces are the most desirable and not easy to find.
Michelle Obama wearing vintage Haskell earrings.
From a 2009 article in W Magazine: “For the uninitiated, Miriam Haskell was a premier American fashion jewelry house for the better part of the 20th century; today it is a prized resource for vintage collectors, who snap up its baubles for upwards of $3,000. Which is to say that it has the kind of reputation and heritage prime for revival—though such wasn’t the case about 20 years ago, when the firm changed hands. “When we bought the company, it was virtually out of business,” says Gabrielle Fialkoff, chief operations officer of Miriam Haskell. Her father, Frank Fialkoff, purchased the label under the parent company Haskell Jewels in 1990, just in time for minimalism to send a hush over costume jewelry. “It wasn’t a jewelry moment, so we just got quiet, feeling that the time would be right in the future,” says Fialkoff. Buoyed by the hot trend in bold statement pieces that started with Lanvin in 2003—and continues today with Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, and the Tom Binnses and Philip Crangis of the world—Miriam Haskell relaunched in fall 2007, and Henri Bendel was happy to re-engage the brand. As Bendel’s fashion director, Ann Watson, puts it, ‘Coco Chanel is the foremother of costume jewelry in Europe, and Miriam Haskell is the foremother of costume jewelry for Americans.’”
Charles James inspired collection…
Here are a few examples of the hundreds of pieces created…
The variety is endless and takes the form of necklaces, brooches, earrings and bracelets.
A couple of books for your reference…
All photos found on Pinterest photo credits unknown.
FIRST APPEARED AS THE FASHION TREND REPORT EXCLUSIVELY FOR RANDOLPH STREET MARKET BLOG REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION.
COLLECTIBLES EXCLUSIVELY FOR RANDOLPH STREET MARKET BY NENA IVON, REPOSTED WITH PERMISSION
n 1863 President Lincoln proclaimed the fourth Thursday of November the nation’s official Thanksgiving Day. By the 1870s, America’s middle class celebrated the occasion with fine Thanksgiving china and turned to the English for delectable transferware patterns depicting the holiday’s bird of choice, the turkey — and their popularity continues to this day. At the time UK was having economic difficulties and knew the States gobbled up (pun intended) their special transferware so why not do stunning platters to celebrate this annual tradition. Our celebrations will be done with smaller groups and social distancing this year, but, in my opinion, our traditions are more important than ever.
Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom From Want” 1943. You can be sure this iconic painting’s star of the feast is presented on a treasured turkey platter.
When collecting look for vintage Spode, Wedgwood, Johnson Bros., Staffordshire, and others. As always, when collecting anything authentic, check labels, bottom of China, etc. and engage each dealer in conversation and absorb their expertise, alone worth the trip. In addition, don’t limit your search of “time specific” items to that month seek out treasures year round.
I thought it would be appropriate to continue our transferware journey with this fun collectible. Lots and lots of colors and styles many newer pieces are not transferware at all. Let’s look at some pieces and, of course, how they can be used in decor.
Not all feature the star of the feast… Tom Turkey… many feature autumnal themes such as the Horn of Plenty.
I want this for my green transferware collection and I don’t even do Thanksgiving at my home!
Gorgeous I think for any roast, don’t you agree!!
Or a winter scene.
But mostly turkeys…
Obsessed with this set…
Some modern pieces…
Some decor suggestions…
My absolute favorite stuffing, beyond delicious! Here is the recipe in its original form…you can see by its age it has been much loved! Since I no longer host Thanksgiving dinner, I do, however, help prepare the feast every year, we don’t do my dressing. We include my Hot Carrot Mold on the extensive menu, it has become part of the tradition.
All photos found on Pinterest photo credits unknown.