Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wrap it up !

How many catalogs have you already tossed this season?
Hopefully they were printed on recycled paper or I cringe to think how many forests are decimated each year.  The bulge of my mailbox is enough to turn almost anyone into a "tree hugger."

The 
Nieman Marcus Christmas Book 2011 deserves a quick glance to see what the frivolously unimaginative rich can purchase on a whim.
A motor boat for $250, 000.00
or
... perhaps a little personal retreat in your back yard where you can spend a few quiet minutes of private time making out your shopping list...all this 'splendor" starting at $75,000.00
and if you need to get away from it all..
a day in the country for a mere  $9,500.00


Actually a day in the country can be priceless- driving down
The Silverado Trail this week I actually gasped
at this amazing display of color -
Living here is a gift
This Christmasy looking vignette makes a
private Scotch tasting look like a real bargain
at
$5,000.00



Luxury gifts are nothing new...

SQUARE CUT...
The diamond engagement ring presented to Grace Kelly
by Prince Rainier of Monaco
She wore the ring in her final film HIGH SOCIETY

Princess Grace bejeweled by her Prince
 did not live happily ever after...
but she is still GORGEOUS !

"It's the thought that counts"

and Liz seems to like what Mike Todd (hubby Numero Tres) was thinking
         OR PEAR SHAPED

This 69 carrat bauble was a gift from husband 
Richard Burton ( # 4 and #5) the second time around


Elizabeth sold it in 1978 and used the proceeds 
to fund a hospital project in Botswana.
Why Botswana- but certainly a generous gesture

A custom flamingo broach of diamonds and other 
precious stones especially made for Wallis Simpson
by Cartier on order of her prince
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor
She is wearing her famous broach in this photograph
She sure had this puppy whipped

We can only guess at the turn of history had Edward not
abdicated his throne for the "woman I love."

"MY KINGDOM FOR A HORSE"
go figure---there is no accounting for taste

SO- speaking of diamonds...

THESE ROCKS DON"T LOSE THEIR SHAPE
MARILYN MONROE
DIAMONDS ARE A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND

Go see 
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN

the story about a week during the filming of
THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL
1956

and BTW- don't bother to try renting the original from Netflix...
endless wait...
MARILYN MONROE & SIR LAURENCE OLIVIER
in
THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL
Sir Laurence with his wife Vivien Leigh

MICHELE WILLIAMS
as
MARILYN
in
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
Though she is not a dead ringer for the "Blond Bombshell," Williams has
figured out that Marilyn was a total creation of Norma-Jean Baker.
With a breathy whisper and a wiggle of the rump both gals
transform into Marilyn. The cast is star studded with familiar faces
but Williams steels the show.  She is perfection.

The movie is smart and funny, tender and nostalgic,  with a  beautifull star
studded cast but  Williams steals the show- she is a gift.

A NEW STAR HAS BEEN BORN


A perfect gift would be movie tickets. Bundle up some  tickets with a gift certificate for a nearby restaurant and ...

Tah Dah...


Dinner and a Movie  

Lavish is lovely-    don't get me wrong- I would not turn my nose up at a share in a private jet...However...

LET'S GET REAL-                           
Prime Minister, Winston Churchill  gifted Lewis Douglas, 
the retiring American Ambassador to the 
Court of St. James with one of his own creations that Douglas had been admiring.

One of my most treasured gifts is a painting by my Dad
- the only painting he has ever done-
Lose the beard and it's practically a self portrait

An elaborately encrusted Madonna was a gift
from Tony Duquette to his friend, the actress Irene Dunn.
It's actually a very subdued piece for Tony, perhaps in deference to it's
religious significance
Miss Dunn was a devout catholic and a
great admirer of Tony's work

Tony designed for theatre in everything he did.
Over-the-top was never enough
He was a firm believer in

MORE IS MORE







 


I was gifted by my friend Andrew Fisher
of these oyster shell spoons and a gold leafed rope knot
 Andrew was a 
protoge of Tony Duquette's
Imagination and creativity is clearly something they had in common-
and a gift 


I asked friends to share gifts they have received that have been memorable and special.
Thanks to all of you who contributed- just not enough room to include everything and everybody

Time and again it proves true that these gifts are very personal and don't necessarily involve big price tags.  They are, however,  gifts of time and generosity.
You are unlikely to find that in any catalog.

SIMPLE PLEASURES
Gifts of Time

Maddie-Cashie and Ben - Personal Treasures

"This fort our dads built out of old logs and bird netting is 
the coolest thing ever ! 
No one is allowed in it if we don't invite them."




Frank Ponterio - Interior Decorator

..."It's truly a gift to have a counterpoint to my daily life
as a designer...
experiences I share with my family at our  farm in Wisconsin."

A mini Frank
Picture Perfect
FRANK PONTERIO INTERIOR DESIGN
"What's better than being entrusted with a new project 
when you are 87?  
In a startling departure from custom, the bottle's 
back label has this credit
"Photography by Fred Lyon, treasured friend to Ali, Charles and all
 who know him."
Now that is a remarkable gift !"










FRED LYON PHOTOGRAPHER















Wine always makes a great gift .
Don't Drink ???  ...then regift it


Jeffry Weisman and Andrew Fisher- Interior Designers

"That would have to be the 400 rose bushes Andrew planted for my 40th.  It was the ultimate gift that kept giving-totally overwhelming in scale, extraordinarily romantic and thoughtful, and just got better every year.



The gift that keeps on giving

Our neighbor across the road, Emiline Tessier had a persimmon tree on her property. When she died we were permitted to move her favorite Persimmon tree and relocate it to our garden.   "Tessie"   bears fruit every season and I make Persimmon Pudding Cakes to give  as gifts during the holidays. 




The Jiro which has the round bottom is wonderful eaten fresh
The Hachiya persimmon has a pointed bottom
and can only be eaten cooked

STEAMED PERSIMMON CAKE
A dense moist gingerbread like cake with nuts and raisins - best served warm with vanilla ice cream

This recipe is best made ahead of time by several days or even months.  I have kept cakes frozen for 11 months with no ill effects.  Just be sure to wrap well- defrost slowly - reheat
before serving.

Fill a large lidded pot with water and bring to a simmer on stove top

Butter the inside and the top of a fluted pudding mold available at any cooking store . I always find them at flea markets- guess a lot of people lose interest- it does take time to watch over the steaming
                                                                          But SO worth it...

1/2  Cup butter plus some extra- softened 
1      Cup granulated sugar
1      Cup SIFTED all-purpose white flour
4      Ripe Hachiya persimmon pulp(about 1 cup)
2      TBLS  Brandy or Grand Marnier
2      Large eggs-slightly beaten
2      Teaspoons baking soda mixed with 2 teaspoons warm water
1       Teaspoon vanilla extract
1       Teaspoon each-ground ginger and cloves
1/2   Teaspoon  ground cinnamon
1       Cup chopped walnuts
1       Cup golden raisins

In the large bowl of an electric mixer cream the sugar with the softened butter at medium speed.

Slowly at low speed mix in flour alternating with persimmon pulp until incorporated

Stir in baking soda mixture- eggs- brandy-vanilla and spices

Mix in the walnuts and raisins and continue beating at a very low speed a few minutes till batter is well incorporated

Spoon into prepared pudding mold and clamp top on securely
Place in the bath of simmering water- water should reach about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the mold.

Cover pot and continue simmering about 1 1/2 - 2 hours until a test scewer comes out clean.
Check water every so often to be sure it does not all boil away.

Allow cake to cool about 1 hour before unmolding 







2 comments:

9b11e278-2068-11e1-a799-000bcdcb471e said...

Love it Rela, a work of art, as always! Thank you!

Eliza Coleman said...

Hi there Rela! I just came across your blog via my friend Fred Lyon! How neat that you featured The Gambler bottle-- I work for Cultivate Wines and we are a new company and just starting to get noticed so it was very fun to see our wine on your blog! You can see more if you're interested at cultivatewines.com
Best,
Eliza