Sunday, August 16, 2015

A fun book~ and I guess a recipe too;)long...

Postcard from Torino♥

You know I am happiest at home..but when I get beautiful postcards..I travel in my dreams..
Hélène travels like no one else I know..
She lives in Cannes..with her beautiful family..and travels and travels and explores..
I send all her posts to Jacques.
I have loved watching her beautiful young boys grow into men..
I have loved watching her work with people that need help ♥
I cannot imagine a kinder caregiver.
I have loved seeing what a great daughter, mother,spouse,chef,friend ,author,photographer,poet, she is..
They were recently in Torino..I am sure a blogpost is to follow..right now..  there is a nouveau post..but not yet Torino;)
I am so looking forward to it..
every trip she takes..  we get to see everything..:)
Love that.

Today..Sunday  August 16th,2015...

See one of our trees in the backyard?  FALL colors starting..I noticed in town driving out today also..OM  way too soon:(

Since my blog is ..really a food blog..but I can't help but share fun stuff I find for you to try..I had better start my post w/ a recipe and what started my quest..

See the shrimp cocktails?
I fell in ♥ with this presentation at Cooking Melangery..not the first thing that I have copied from Yelena..
That blue ice and the pretty vintagey servers..  so ..I am not a tartare person..nor is Jacques..I really really wanted to make something pretty for my daughter's 40th a starter..
if you can believe..I commented on Yelenas servers and she kindly offered to send me hers..I told her that one day she would be making a special dish ..for her own daughter ..and to keep them..but how nice was that?

so..I was on a quest..and I found 8..  4  each of 2 styles..resales..from local people here..
took a while..but I did find some..the hard part was the blue ice..can you believe I practiced?
That's the practice shot above w/ the practice cocktail sauce..too mayonnaisey~

My blender ..did nothing but whirl air below the ice cubes...even if I let them melt a bit or add water..
my ice cream machine..made ice around the circumference and a puddle in the middle..what finally worked was making blue ice cubes..putting them in ziploks..and smashing the ice..repeatedly.:)
Even Jacques was involved..

Giuliana..  placed the ice in the servers..while I fiddled with the rest..Had to make 8..The Littles just got shrimps on a plate w/ the sauce..The Middles got a real one..and so did the Bigs.

So here finally is the recipe..and not for the sauce you see in the photo..

a better one..a perfect one..

I made Ina's for Mylène's birthday and it's delicious..I love horseradish so I went heavy on the horseradish;)

Just in case you ever want to make shrimp cocktail served on blue ice;)
I am totally impressionable

I always love those quirky,cute,sweet cards I see here and there.
In May ..I pre-ordered a book from Amazon.. Creative Girl by Danielle Donaldson.
It FINALLY just came..
I have never painted this genre..I followed her tutorial for one of her projects one morning and loved doing it.Imagine the possibilities.
The book is pretty..has tips..tricks..tutorials and ideas.
I then tried my hand at  making cards.. thought they would be so sweet.
What a talented girl Danielle Donaldson is.
You could certainly personalize each and every idea..
FUN book.♥
I would say this book is great for  ages 13-113..and I give it a full 5 stars.
That's saying is already looking a bit worn..usually a book looks FOR EVER.
How many books do we fall in love with online only to find not much applies to us?

This one is for everyone who likes whimsy.
Above are some practice runs..3 cards reserved for sure..I know exactly for who..and I have since added personalized words..messages..glitter..gemstones..:)
The girl w/ the blow dryer  and scissors and comb in her my haidresser..I shouldn't say hairdresser..  I leave w/ wet hair.. she adds highlights  and low lights ..
In and out in one hour.
She is so kind..  and is a gardener..thus the gardens growing out of her head..:)
she dreams about her gardens while doing hair..she started very very young doing this..she just turned is her salon..the team never changes..that's how happy they are there.
Omygosh not fancy schmancy at all..another thing I love about it.
I have slipped and gone elsewhere over the a hairdresser..and an excellent one and I love her.. but she could not do two colors..
not pink and blue..  brown and beige.
She too is accomplished..her own salon..a success story!
Anyway..all that to say I sent Josée the card..

You can make them itty bitty..or full page..

I know a certain talented  young girl in the US..California..Palo be precise..who might enjoy this ..she is so crafty.
You do need watercolor paper..and watercolors..and a brush..scissors ..there is a list..but one can easily get away with just those.
Years and years and years ago..when I took a painting class with Sandy Ferguson..she taught us how to use liquid watercolors..w/ just 3 colors.. she had us paint a painting..mixing them to obtain other colors..that year..we were in Fl..and these PH Martins were so affordable compared to here..I bought a set..the sets have changed..but for the cards..I used them as DD does talk about them also.So happy to have found a use for the bottles..
I also used vintage Grumbacher paints..a set of a metal box..watercolorsin tubes ..2 flip palettes..the paints are used..but have more than half in the tubes and they are all fluid..not dried up..
The original price on the cardboard box was still affixed.. Spécial..$1.49..!!!
Imagine that.

PS forgive the was dull and dark..and humid)  and again and again..  what a funny week here weather wise..
All my cameras hate that weather...being my offspring and old too..they are very much like me now.
The pics in DDs book are clear..and inspiring!
I must admit ..I find..when artists share how to books..they are being so generous with their talent..and giving such enjoyment to sooo many people.
A great gift.
A huge Pay It Forward~
PS She has no clue I am talking about her book;)
She has no idea who I am..:)

There are a multitude of ideas in this book..
If I take it to means something.
Anyone can make these dolls...and her other projects..
The book is available so many places.. online is where I got
Go have fun.


  1. Let me just say Monique, I think Helene is You.

    1. She could be my little sister in a different life..:) My French sister:)

      You will love looking though her posts Donna.. she is you too.

  2. I am so impressed with your shrimp cocktail planted in the cool blue ice. An artistic creative if I've ever seen one. The postcards and paintings today are so lovely. Makes me want to pack my suitcase and head to the airport.

    1. Me too..and I am not a packer ..nor a traveler;)

  3. I don't have an ounce of artistic talent in me, but I may have to buy that book, Monique. Your cards, like everything else you do,are just exquisite. Such a beautifully gifted lady you are. And the shrimp presentation - oolala!

    1. Susan,this book is a little gem..
      I loved my crayons and Prismacolor pencils as a child..things like this bring back those wonderful feelings.
      I think everyone could enjoy this cute book.

  4. I so wish I was that talented! The cards are amazing and beautiful. Love the colors. I could use an adventure - maybe I will :)

    1. It's a nice ..quiet,creative adventure..s..
      She shares so much in this book.
      I can't stop.
      I find it is an affordable and long lasting adventure.

  5. You are a talented girl too. And so inspired. And so full of love and friendship and kindness and enthusiasm. I will see if my library system has that book!! I like whimsey and I'm between the required ages! I'm going to try a few of those inks!

    1. So much fun..and the tips!
      I went to an art store for one thing..the dollar store for now 2 invaluable things..and Amazon ..
      Great tips for may already know ..I didn't..
      I hope your library has it..kind of a keeper though:)
      Have fun..and the cards are sometimes 3d..

  6. These are all so wow! So so everything you do :)

  7. These are so beautiful! The color combination is very dreamsical.

    1. Dreamsical..I think I have a new favorite word!

  8. Oh my goodness Monique. I had to treat myself to this book. It won't be out here until the end of August and I can't wait to get it. I sold a couple of my illustrated cookbooklets this morning and so they will pay for it. Yay! Now, where to begin on this post. There is so much to love about it. Your dishes. My boss had dishes like that, so beautiful. Loving the blue ice. Your presentation as always is flawless. Love the cards, You are such a treasure to visit. A feast for the eyes and the heart. I cannot get enough of you. Seriously. It's probably a good thing we live so far away from each other. I might become a pest otherwise. ;-) xoxo

    1. Marie.. as I painted these..guess who i thought of..w/ your talent and flair and already a penchant for whimsy and dolls..I could only envision in my mind what you would do to these cute things.
      You won't regret your purchase I think as I picked up some invaluable tips.You will at one thing..think..:"Now why didn't I think of that"?
      But then again maybe you have!!

    2. I am sure I will love it. I have to wait for the end of the month for it to arrive though. As it doesn't come out here until then. Sigh . . .

  9. You have so many talents M. I just adore these water color paintings.

    1. They are a ball to make:)
      So fun.
      I think you would enjoy trying are so busy though..maybe when and if you retire..I know you have tons of hobbies..but you might enjoy these:)

    2. Nah, My hand is not capable of putting what my mind sees to paper. Not like you.

  10. Eh bien voilà, je suis émue, maintenant ! ;o)
    Bisous et bravo pour ces si jolies demoiselles !

    1. Moi..j'adore les é tu nous en fait toujours vivre~
      Quand je lis tes bien c'est un autre tes billets sont toujours en douceur..en partage..

  11. Love yr aquarelles comme d'habitude!!
    That Hèléne is some blogger !!!

    1. I know..for years and years..truly the boys were so little when I first found her..
      she is an adventurer..comme toi..
      the both of you have minds filled with knowledge and sights..:)
      I think one admires people that are so different than themselves..I may go out to lunch by the water today in my town.That's an outing for me :)
      Both of you blog to reach out ad teach and share..
      There's never any's all about sharing..Love that about both your blogs..

  12. It has been a painting summer for you Monique. Such talent. It has been like Christmas in summer with your new paints you bid on and now the book you have been waiting for. Enjoy! Your hairdresser will love her card. Your shrimp cocktail over blue ice is another artistic presentation. Martha Stewart would be proud of you. I just use ketchup, horseradish and lemon in mine and taste to make sure it has enough horseradish to make it taste good. Can't go wrong with Ina's recipes.

    1. Ina is a good thing:) Both ladies..
      I remember Jacques used to tape Marha's shows for me because I worked..I am sure I have the VHS' somewhere!
      It has been a painting summer..I have a very quite life...and this is a super little hobby.I LOVE IT:)

  13. You are the talented one I must say. I am waiting for your watercolor book to come out and can't wait!! *hint, hint* As always, I continue to admire you and your cooking, painting, blog posting, your selfless ways of honoring others :)

    1. Bev;)

      I think you would enjoy this book too.You love to craft and paint..and the book shows it all w/ being an instruction manual;)
      It's like a playdate but she isn't there..her book is..
      I can safely and humbly say there will not be any book coming out of this address;)
      I am one of those people w/ no ambition at the moment..I am actually at peace now with NOT working and doing quiet things:)
      Have a great week Bev..

  14. Beautiful.

  15. Having trouble commenting here, so trying again. It's all so pretty! I can't draw a straight line but the book sounds great!

    1. I wonder why?

      Pam..I have trouble w/ a straight line also:)

  16. Such a lovely post. The book looks enchanting and fun! You talents never go unnoticed. Love the shrimp cocktail, one of my Mother's favorites. Great to hear about your hair dresser, stylist.
    I was a stylist for years and I did indeed own my own salon .

    1. Kudos..such hard work..I bet your clientele loved you Linda!

  17. Have I mentioned lately how much I look forward to your beautiful posts? Well, I do!!


    1. That is such a nice thing to say.
      Thank you:)

  18. I just reserved the book from our library :) I will have to wait my turn. to get it. You always have such fun projects to share, Monique and your enthusiasm is contagious! Do your girls know how lucky they are? I'm sure they do. Such beautiful whimsy and I'm sure many ideas came from you and not just the book. What a beautiful way you fill your time at home. Your haidresser - LOL. The shrimp cocktails in those beautiful dishes over crushed blue ice - oh, so pretty. I had to smile at your attempts to crush the ice :) And how nice to received a postcard from Italy! So much talent out there, including yours :) Oh no, not leaves turning already? None here yet but soon, I'm sure. Can you believe, middle of August ALREADY? I must be having too much fun at the rate time is flying :)

    1. Every girl I posted is an almost exact replica just not done as well as DD..

      No..not much from my head..all gleaned..wish I could say will like the book Susan!
      What great libraries some of you have!
      Oh yes..the leaves are turning!
      I know you are having fun..and that's the way it should be:)

  19. Monique, I read this while in Santa Fe, but for some reason couldn't leave a comment. I smiled at the thought of your vintage servers. We received a set of these as a wedding gift, but they have disappeared since moving into this house. I honestly don't recall what happened to them. ;-) Love the idea of the blue ice. Shrimp cocktails are a favorite here. I will remember this clever presentation, Monique.
    Love seeing your latest creations. I will have to order the book. It looks like a lot of fun. You always have the best recommendations. Merci!

    1. I hope you do get the book.. she could carry an MC purse you know and travel with you!

  20. I love Helene's blog and always enjoy her post and pictures:))
    This is a beauty and fun post!

  21. Beautiful book, I see why you love it so much and that shrimp is tooooo pretty!

    1. When the Littles are a bit older..maybe even next could have fun with them and this!

  22. Morning Monique...
    I make my Shrimp cocktail the same way....the spicier the better!
    Your look very pretty with the blue ice!
    Your cards are cute, and so detailed! I love these!
    Have a great day!
    Kinda dreary here....few drops of rain....I need to go out! Hahaha!
    Linda :o)

    1. We're in a heat wave till Friday..

      not much garneing going on except gathering tomatoes and taking pics..
      Have a great day Linda.

  23. Hi Monique, love everything about this post, I know I just said to my husband that the breeze was reminding me of the beginning of fall, that is way too soon. The cards are so beautiful you really are talented.

    1. No..honestly..not talented..copied..copied..copied..she is so easy to follow..You must be leaving soon?

  24. i love love your paintings that you did! The recipients will be thrilled :) I have wondered about ordering the book, there have been good reviews for it.
    I can't believe there are glimpses of fall colors it seems like just a short time ago that you were sharing the photos of the first flowers in your garden.
    Such a pretty post

    1. I would love you to get this book..I see some american friends are able to book it out through their is very you this book Jenni..can you get it at your library? Try before you buy?
      It was a short time ago.. I love my seasons..but this early change is a touch disheartening...

  25. This does look like a fun book and when I have my folly I plan to try my hand at painting! This looks manageable! You also are paying it forward, too Monique. Your blog is always so creative!

    1. This would be the book to start having fun w/ Abbe..since I don't get your udates..grrr..I am going to visit you now..;)

  26. Good grief! Fall colors on some leaves already? Not fair!!
    My daughter is here for a couple weeks...we made Ina's shrimp salad last night. We loved it. Ina is the greatest.
    Beautiful work, Monique. You are so talented!

    1. Have a ball Barbara with your beautiful daughter!
      Ina is pretty much the greatest;)

  27. I adore your paintings! What a great new book. I love her style.
    Wow, those servers are fantastic! Anything shrimp is on my list and these look wonderful!

  28. These cards are gorgeous. Now I want the book as well :-)

  29. Monique, Love your watercolor cards! Such a pretty technique! I have to buy this book, it looks like so much fun!! Your shrimp looks yummy too!

  30. Danielle teaches two online classes on how to create these 'girls' along with her wondeful techniques ~ you must take them ~ it brings her book 'live'! Her book came out after these two classes

    1. Thank you Suzanne..geesh you have me tempted:)
      I have joined that site..I had seen one introductory class..but was too late.Thank you.