Lacy Susan

No, not the edible Lacey Susan, a buttery, sugary cookie. And most definitely NOT that spinning thing in the middle of the dining table called a Lazy Susan. (Don’t laugh, KB or EAS!) 

My fondness for lace has only been evident in the past decade or so. I hated to wear lace as a kid because it was always itchy, and as a young woman, I thought it was too prissy and frilly for me. 

Fast forward a few decades, and I have started to appreciate pretty lace and actually wear it on occasion. (But not that scratchy stuff from the 1970s!)

One of my first lace purchases was this beautiful 1920s lettuce green velvet shawl with beige lace trim. The lace is soft and lightweight, and it’s fun to wear. I’m pretty sure it’s machine made.

I wear a lot of black so of course I have been looking at numerous black lace dresses and shawls. This floral design on a 1930s dress really appeals to me. To my very untrained eye, it looks handmade but it could be high end machine-made lace. (Crafty friends, what do you think?) It seems too fragile to actually wear; there are some tears in the lace.

I also photographed this lace, which was on a different late 1920s/early 1930s dress. I like the texture, and it feels sturdier than the example above. The dress is a bias cut long sleeveless dress that’d be nice for summer.

This is a vintage bed jacket with lace trim and embroidery on peach colored silk.

This beige lace looks great with a bedjacket I bought at a really cool thrift store in Paris.

I wish I’d paid a little more attention to my grandmother’s crochet lessons years ago. The trim and butterfly on the chemise below are so pretty. I’ve seen it called filet lace or filet embroidery.

I don’t usually think of Coco Chanel and “lace” together but the photograph below illustrates her use of lace in evening wear. Beautiful!

Snippets of Cuba

Fireman’s Monument, Colon Cemetery, Havana

My visit to Cuba a couple of months ago with my husband was a wonderful experience with lots of cultural activities, warm hospitality everywhere we went, new friends on our tour, hearty food, and lots of rum. Did I mention warm weather and balmy breezes? As a lazy sporadic blogger, I’ve neglected to post many photos of our trip but here’s a little taste of the interesting  things we saw. 

We traveled before Obama announced that the US is loosening travel restrictions; the Cubans were very friendly and didn’t seem to harbor ill will towards us. Toward our government, perhaps…

The photo above from Colon Cemetery focuses on a frightening bat and a nun holding a sprig of flowers. The memorial honors firefighters who died in a terrible fire in 1890. 

Banyan Tree

Banyan trees are so alien with their exposed roots. 

Vintage American Cars

There were dozens of old American cars lovingly painted and cared for. I rode in one our last night there and I was amazed at how well kept the interior was. Many of them now have Mitsubishi or other non-original motors but they still look so incredibly cool.

Ernest Hemingway’s House with View of Booze Bottles

I took this shot from outside Hemingway’s home, Finca Vigia. Tourists aren’t allowed inside but we wandered the grounds and looked through the windows.

Mail Slot

I want a mail slot like this!

Wall Typewriters

We ate at a restaurant that had these old typewriters near the entrance. Cuban people make use of so many things we would just throw away; they’re an incredibly resourceful people. 

Have you been to Cuba, or would you go?

French Magazine Advertisements from 1949


I was thumbing through an old issue of France-Illustration today and was enchanted by the graphic design of many of the advertisements. It was a Christmas issue from 1949 but the few visual references to the holiday were discreet, as I’d expect a French magazine to be.

I’ve posted advertisements from this magazine in a earlier post, which included advertisements from perfumes, writing implements, and fancy combs. Perfume ads seem to be ubiquitous – very French!

Which of these ads do you like the best? I like the Hermes typewriter ad and the woman in the beautiful purple dress. I need to do more research on what company or “thing” the ad was selling.










Happy New Year!!

I wish you all much happiness and good health in 2015!

The New York Public Library’s Digital Collections has a wonderful collection of vintage holiday postcards online. Below are some interesting ones. The one with the airship is horrifying to look at today but would have been very modern at the turn of the last century. I like the good luck symbols used in Europe, particularly Germany, the pig and the mushroom.











All images courtesy NYPL Digital Collections.

Coco Chanel – Happy Birthday!

“You live but once; you might as well be amusing.”
― Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel dans son appartement à l'hôtel Ritz,   François Kollar. Donation François Kollar Ministère de la culture

Coco Chanel dans son appartement à l’hôtel Ritz, François Kollar. Donation François Kollar Ministère de la culture

Appartement de Coco Chanel au Ritz : livre ouvert et lunettes. François Kollar. Ministère de la culture - base Mémoire

Appartement de Coco Chanel au Ritz : livre ouvert et lunettes. François Kollar. Ministère de la culture – base Mémoire

Les mains de Coco Chanel,  1930. André Kertész, Ministère de la culture (France), Médiathèque de l'architecture et du patrimoine.

Les mains de Coco Chanel, 1930. André Kertész, Ministère de la culture (France), Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine.

Coco Chanel dans son appartement au Ritz, au téléphone, et jouant de l'accordéon. Ministère de la culture.

Coco Chanel dans son appartement au Ritz, au téléphone, et jouant de l’accordéon. Ministère de la culture.


Chanel’s collection. Paris, Autumn-Winter 1982. Carlos Gayoso,



“Bijoux de Diamants” jewellery collection created by Coco Chanel and presented at her place, 29 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Paris, November 7-19, 1932. Albert Harlingue. Photo from


Roasted Garbanzo Beans

Garbanzo beans are my favorite legumes- I like them mashed into hummus, fried into falafel, and lightly dressed with oil and vinegar. I tried fried garbanzo beans earlier this year at Levant and was smitten at first bite. Alas, I hate frying food so I’ve been on the hunt for an alternative.

I found a recipe on for Spicy Oven Roasted Garbanzo Beans that I tested the first timeI made these. The chickpeas didn’t get as crunchy as I wanted so I had to stick them back in the oven. I used too much oil the first time and that didn’t help the sogginess. The flavor was great so I kept at it. I finally achieved success!

I’m not good with giving exact instructions but here’s roughly what I do:

Oven: 400 degrees F
1 can garbanzo beans- drain, rinse, and pat very dry
Scant tablespoon of olive oil
Spices- you can use cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, or whatever you like

Mix the very dry garbanzos with the oil and spices until the beans are well coated. Put them on a cookie sheet and stick them in the oven, checking on them after 25 minutes. Shake the pan periodically so they don’t get too brown on one side. You might need to cook them up to 50 minutes or so depending on your oven.

Best to let them cool completely before storing in a container. Once they loose their crunchiness they’re very tasty added to salads or stir fries.

What’s your favorite bean/ legume recipe?