Sunflower Serenade

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Slim Paley  photo

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Today was officially the last day of summer. Sniff… big tear drop falls into Ugg boot.  I will now embrace you Dear Sunflowers, paintbox sunsets, comfort foods and cashmere.  Actually, that doesn’t sound half bad, does it?!  I’m returning to the East Coast towards the end of the week, and although I’m a tad too early to enjoy the turning of the leaves, I do have a few things on the agenda to look forward to.  Firstly, I have dinner booked at Alinea , recently voted the best restaurant ever in Chicago. I’m so excited. I’ve been studying Grant Achatz’ incredible cookbook beforehand as I’m an Alinea Virgin.  Sadly, I hear the 23 course tasting menu has just been slashed to a mere 16.  The nerve of some people.  Do you think I should bring some crackers in my pocket just in case?!

I haven’t been to Chi-town in a few years but it is one of my most favourite cities to visit.

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Sassafras Cream with Mandarin Ice on a bed of Root beer reduction and shortbread crumble at Alinea

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Charles Burchfield

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After Chicago, our itinerary finds us back in NY where I plan on taking my older son to see the Charles Burchfield (1893-1967) show at the Whitney.  I saw it the last time I was there and found it quite moving.  The manner in which Burchfield painted… repainted…and painted again, revisiting and enlarging the same canvases over the course of many years is just fascinating to me.  This workman-like approach to achieving such delicate beauty…it’s very humbling.  After a stint designing wallpaper (one you will see below) Burchfield decided he would quit his position there and devote himself entirely to his art. Almost immediately after leaving his job, the Great Depression set in.  No Picasso or Singer Sargent was poor Charles. While some of his paintings do portray the bleakness of the Depression era, many others positively vibrate with beauty and light.  The show is on until October 17th. Try to see it if you happen to be in Manhattan.

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Heatwaves in a Swamp paintings by Charles Burchfield

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My son and I also have tickets to see “Gatz”, a SIX HOUR long production of The Great Gatsby!   I’m already worrying about what to wear to be comfortable.  Don’t you love that my son said he would go with me? My husband’s response…mmmmm not so keen… complete Road Runner cloud.

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And now, just a little Early Autumn Colour Inspiration;

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Slim Paley photo

I  love Sunflowers against a white marble counter top.  The white flowers  mixed into the arrangement grow like a weed in several places up my driveway.  I have lavender ones too-  I’ve no idea what they’re called.

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‘Childhood’s Garden’ Charles Burchfield

What a glorious painting, don’t you think?

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Vegetable Tartine  Photo from Playingwithfireandwater.com

I’ve talked about this website before,  but for newbies to Slim Paley;  Do NOT go to this website unless you are feeling very, very secure about your cooking abilities.

Like Angelina Jolie secure. Like Giselle in a bikini secure.  OK, now don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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‘Noontide in Late May’  (1917)  Charles Burchfield

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A Charles Burchfield designed wallpaper.  One room is completely papered in this at the Whitney.

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Slim Paley photo

Happy!

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Slim Paley photo

I’m sharing with you one of my very favourite things – Our beloved enamel refrigerator from 1910.  It was part of an outside walk- in refrigeration room when we bought the c 1895  house.


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Vincent Van Gogh

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.A Gardening Favourite.

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.I don’t think any credit is needed here 🙂

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Dandelion Ranch

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Slim Paley photo

Cherry Tomato pyramid at the Chelsea Garden Show

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Both photos from Playing With Fire & Water

Did you go?  I told you not to!  You should listen to me!  PS.  Do you think she evvvveerr sleeps??


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Picasso’s Self Portrait

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Photo from Alinea


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Slim Paley photo

My wee little traveling watercolour set from Kure Take Co. Japan

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Slim Paley photo

So I’m crazy about my new camera,  but now I’m inspired to get my paints out too!

The real challenge is to find the time…

Oh Dear.  Somehow I bet Charles Burchfield never said that 🙁

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Alinea

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Does anyone have any Chicago tips? Shopping, dining, walking?

I’ll trade you NY info for Chicago stuff!

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78 Comments

  1. This is my favorite post so far (next to your son’s birthday post)! The opening shot of the sunflowers literally took my breathe away! And that fridge is amazing. Keep up the good work. And, by the way, I love the story in House Beautiful. Your living room is so beautiful…

  2. Dear Slim,
    I’m a Chicago gal. I live on the same street I grew up on 49 years ago. I had a seafood dinner at L20 that blew me away. Two weeks later in Paris, I was disappointed in comparison.
    My dear friend, Edward is a concierge at the new and very splendid Elysian Hotel. Why don’t you call him and let him know you are a friend of mine. He will take special care of you in the most gracious manner.
    My suggestion is that if the weather is beautiful, take the architecture cruise on the Chicago River, afterward walk to Millennium Park to see Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate (which we Chicagoan’s refer to as “The Bean”) and then cross the street and go to The Gage for a Gage Cocktail.
    Have a wonderful time and safe travels.

  3. How I adore your blog! I have recently just found it via your mention of it in House Beautiful (LOVED your beach house! So beautiful). You are so very funny and your photos are beyond gorgeous. You are my favorite blog now, and believe me, I have many! Thank you, thank you. Your topics are so varied and interesting.

  4. OMG When I read this post. . . I realized I am a “groupie” because I had been holding my breath until

    your next post!! . . . . and at my age lol

    as always a ten. . . enjoy your trip

  5. Love this post. Yummy colors. Just plain deliciously gorgeous. Photos per your usual, superb.

    Thanks also for the Charles Birchfield photos of his paintings and information. I have always wanted to see his work. This is a must see exhibition for me.

    Have a great trip!

  6. OK, so you have to STOP……….no, no don’t. I happen to be going to the Whitney today….[to see the Lee Friedlander show (who gave me a scholarship to study photography with him in Aspen in the 70’s)], so now I HAVE to leave time to see the Charles Birchfield show as well? Darn!
    and of course having been born on Halloween orange/sunflower are my FAVORITE colors.
    Again, your visions are an inspiration.
    I too love Chicago but haven’t been there recently to give recommendations (have you asked Michelle O?)
    I will be looking for you in Brooklyn………THE place to be in NYC.

  7. I {{{LOVE}}} so much here. Fall: MY season. MY colors. Oh, MY! Mr. Birchfield’s work is wonderful. And, your fridge. Get outta town! It’s FANTASTIC. Oh, MY!

  8. Chicago is my favorite town! We go for hockey tournaments every other year or so. Many are in the suburbs, and I have a great time shopping in Geneva. If you can get up there, I think it’s worth a trip. Great boutiques, home goods and dress shops, and one of the oldest taverns in town. It’s right on the Fox River, with quaint bridges and small streets….just an adorable little town, but great shopping! For me, it was much better than the Magnificent Mile with the same old stores. Another beautiful post, Slim, filled with all my favorites, but your refrigerator is
    the most spectacular!! ; )

  9. I love all the photo imagages, gorgeous! I love also how crystal clear one of your personal pics is, would love to know what camera you use!!!
    Also, is your antigue refrigerator used a refrigerator, or for storage? Was it refurbished? Thanks!

  10. I adore your September sunflower arrangement! The white flowers are called Japanese Anemone ( Anemone japonica) & are a perfect addition to your sunflowers. I love your photos, your clever & beautiful blog & your sense of humor! Thank you!!

  11. hi slim,

    gorgeous pictures but…

    i am fascinated by the refrigerator. did you have it retro-fitted for the house? how do you remember where things are? how is it on energy? this is way better than anything on cribs.

    ~janet

  12. My one recommendation you might not know about is a resturant by the name of Gage. It is on S Michigan, a few blocks south of the Art Institute. Very popular with the before theater crowd plus the after work young professionals in the area so call for reservations. My husband and I will be in Chicago in 2 wks so I expect a full report in case there is something I don’t know about! Have fun!

  13. Dear Slim

    I love your blog. I’m repeating everything already said by your fan club… always love your photos, love your artistic eye… Birchfield – this guy can paint, very dreamy… I could spend hours looking at his work. You’re such a clever girl… you never disappoint. Can’t wait to see your photos of Chicago.

    It’s like a never ending travelog with you!!!

  14. Slim, I cannot get over this post and it will stay with me a very long time! The images, your photography, the glorious flowers food and art……….I am inspired…truly!!

    Oh, I have a Giveaway by the French Basketeer that I think you will love!

    Karena
    Art by Karena

  15. “the tasting menu slashed to a mere 16…should i bring some crackers just in case?” gosh, i love yr sense of humor! thanks for the giggle this morning. and the pic of that glorious fridge…no auto-ice maker i imagine?

  16. I agree with K.R. I am addicted to your blog, but unlike K.R. I want to be SP in THIS lifetime!!
    I also agree with Mary. This is my favorite blog so far (next to your sons birthday post). Can’t wait until we see your talent with the watercolors!

    Thank you for continuing to offer this beauty to us!
    HAVE A GREAT TRIP!

    I assume you have taken the architecture tour in Chicago ( I loved it both times)…. but have you taken the tour with your super special camera?

  17. I’m DYING to go to the Silver Palm and have one of their 3 Little Piggy sandwiches (or should I say “a portion” of one of their sandwiches). Anthony Bourdain visited on his “No Reservations” show and said it was his favorite sandwich – ever! Here is a link I found to a blog that includes a clip from the show: http://www.eatmedaily.com/2009/02/bourdain-calls-three-little-pigs-sandwich-greatest-sandwich-in-america-video/.

    I just sent this link to my friend who is visiting Chicago this week, I can’t wait to hear back from him.

    Have a wonderful trip!

  18. As our son would say “It’s all good ”
    It’s all fabulous, every single photo, restaurant reservations, time with your son.
    Brilliant Blog.
    have a safe and happy trip, and thanks again for sharing ox

  19. Thank you for your visit to the Market.

    I’m sure you’ll find a million things to do in Chicago. I love all of the the planting beds along the “mile”, especially those with the wrought iron fences, they are so pretty and so traditional, very distinctive.

    The white flowers are called Japanese Anemones, they grow with abundance in the northwest too, a welcomed invasion this time of year.

    I can’t believe your refrigerator — it looks so nice. Did you have the interior rebuilt and just use the gorgeous enameled doors?

    Have a great trip!

  20. Fantastic blog. My favorite, so far. I’m glad you love your camera! It means you’ll keep on. My little guys used to accompany me to museums and galleries, too. They are 29 and 31 now and they’ve both admitted enjoying it. I’ve ordered the gardening book. Have a fun trip!

  21. Beautiful post Slim!

    love your “road runner cloud” description:)

    DON’T overexert yourself on the East Coast, you have to save some energy for the one arm bandits in a few weeks!

  22. If you haven’t toured some of Chicago’s historic homes, Farnsworth House, is definitely worth the hour drive from Chicago to Plano, IL. And Robie House on the University of Chicago campus, plus the other Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Oak Park are fabulous, too! Besides Alinea and Charlie Trotter’s, Blackbird, and Avec, it’s more casual sister restaurant, both on W. Randolph. are still some of the best restaurants in town! Enjoy!

  23. Ahhhhhhh…you had me at sunflowers and anemones…and…how could it be?…it just got better!
    How is it that each post is better than the one before? It can’t be! Thrilling to my artist eyes!

  24. Burchfield to me is the most organic and soulful painter of the group-
    I believe the Potamkin’s purchased many of them early on- as for Chi Town-
    always so filled with food, art and music. I would go wild, off the beaten tracks, out of the
    comfort zone- find a great blues club, let you hair down and dance all night long.
    And, I know that refrigerator can talk. I hear it.

  25. Oh, that refrigerator! My great-aunt Elberta had a smaller version with as many doors in her kitchen in Buffalo (the house was built in 1913). I can remember, opening all the doors looking for treats and being shooed away by Grace, her cook, who dressed like a nurse in all white and who, as I now look back with adult eyes, was really quite butch. The icebox (as my father still calls refrigerators) wasn’t lit on the inside as I recall. Anyway, Slim, you are my hero for having saved yours!

  26. Your anemones are fabulous – and can be found in pinks, lavenders. Love them! Love this blog! Love your clean kitchen and the fact that you leave the Kitchen Aid out on the counter. DOnt hide the machinery!
    Of course you are coming to New York – we need rain – bring it as you did last time!

  27. The white flowers in your sunflower bouquet are Japanese anemones, sometimes called windflowers, can be invasive in good soil.

  28. s.p.! so excited you are coming to chicago as i would love to see my beloved city through the lens of your camera. please post about your trip. you’ve already gathered some great tips; the bean, the gage, l2o but may i also add xoco for a quick lunch http://www.rickbayless.com/restaurants/xoco.html and i still adore rl http://www.rlrestaurant.com/

    i do believe the best shopping is a quick 20 minutes outside of chicago, in evanston, at chalk: http://www.chalkofevanston.com/ think isabel marant, haider ackerman, giambattista valli, rick owens, chris benz, and so much more. add sweet, friendly shop girls (must confess, i work there) and you’ve got a special place. if you are in chicago on thursday september 30, we are hosting a special event with chris benz and stacy wallace-albert from chicago magazine. if you haven’t met chris, you must. i would love to add you to the guest list. shoot me an email if you’re interested as it is a strict invite only party: info@chalkofevanston.com

    on another note, i love your blog. i’ve been a loyal reader for quite some time but have never posted. if you’re willing to make the trip to evanston (a beautiful drive up lake shore drive) i’d be happy to suggest other shops & restaurants!

    best, suzy

  29. Have a wonderful trip to Chicago. I can’t wait to hear all about it. My girlfriend and I are trying to plan a weekend there sometime this winter. (I know – winter in Chicago – but the point is more for us to get together and talk and eat and drink. ) Love your kitchen (I like kitchens that look like they’re used) and your fridge is amazing! And, as usual, your pictures and flowers didn’t disappoint. Safe travels!

  30. While I agree with the architecture tour on the river and the Chicago Botanic Garden, let me remind you that Chicago is America’s most interesting theater city (not so much of the pressure of NYC!) and there is always something new to take in whether it is Mary Zimmerman or Steppenwolf or Chicago Shakespeare or Second City or the newest off-shoot of any of the foregoing (literally 100+ to choose from)….Take in the magic of a darkened theater on at least one of your nights in the Windy City…You won’t regret it.

  31. I saw the post from someone who wants you to come to Evanston! If you come to Evanston, come a little further up the North Shore to Winnetka, where we have great shopping too, namely Frannies and Neopolitan! (I am not affiliated with either one of these boutiques, but judging from your fab blog, I think you would love them.) If you are here on Friday during the day, Emmet McCarthy is coming to another store in Winnetka for a fashion show (again, I am not affiliated personally). Email me at currentlychic@gmail.com for details. I am sure I can get an invitation for you! You have a following here! We can’t wait to see what you have to say about Chicago.

    Warmly,
    CC

  32. i’ll take you up on that swap as i’m in chicago and i’m visiting nyc in early october. my favorite (hands down) restaurant in chicago is avec (no resv. taken, but well worth the wait). for lunch: i love the restaurant (terzo piano) in the new contemporary wing at the art institute and RL is also tops on my list (so super cozy & perfect). fred’s at barney’s is not so perfect, but it has good people-watching potential (like RL).
    other dinner suggestions: the goat & the girl (top chef winner) is delicious and if you want a GREAT burger, try super hip DMK. also super cool (with delicious food) is big star in wicker park. for drinks: the violet hour in wicker park (best drinks i’ve ever had), the bar at the Elysian & the drawing room. for clothing i would go to p.45 in wicker park or hike up to chalk in evanston.
    i could go on & on about the lack of good home furnishing/antique stores in chicago, but the short list is jayson home & garden (lincoln park), scout & brimfield (in andersonville) & pavillion (in wicker park). and i know it’s old-school now, but i love to stay at the peninsula. hope that helps!

  33. Slim ~ wonderful post for the first day of fall … the warm, autumnal color combinations are very appealing … i always wonder how you “weave” all the different pictures and images together … from so many different medias and locations … extremely impressive … do you sleep? May you be blessed for all you share and indulge … you are a gifted and talented artist. Tres bien – merci beaucoup!
    On Chicago – if you have not already done so … don’t miss the architectural river boat tour – with all the history of buildings and skyscrapers, the view from the top of Sears tower and last but not least – the Frank Lloyd Wright tour … these are just a few – but i will take you up on the NYC “musts” later – going for Company conference next week – but no fun personal time in the City this visit … thanks for the restaurant tip ~Alinea- invited to Chicago with friends in December … hope it works out to go this year … have a lovely and enjoyable trip!

  34. Slim
    So love your blog. Irreverent, inspiring, and fresh.
    Mr Burchfield is amazing as is everything else.
    Bon Appetit in Chicago. XOXO

  35. Slim, I agree with Canuck about the Road Runner image…so funny! and although I love seeing sunflowers along the side of the road in Italy I have never been a fan of yellow or sunflowers..BUT…your arrangement of sunflowers and anemones is so, so, lovely. Mixing them with white flowers with yellow centers breaks up the heaviness. I love Chicago, RL restaurant, architectural tour by boat, visiting Frank Lloyd Wright houses, Art Institute, Steppenwolf, Second City, shopping at Ikram, walking on Michigan Ave. , Wright Auction house. I love that city. Have fun!

  36. Wow!
    Thanks SO MUCH everyone for all the fantastic suggestions for Chicago! I wish I was going to be there longer now 🙁 My FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is kicking in Big Time!
    I have never, believe it or not, taken the architectural river tour, so I think I’m going to go ahead and do that. Come rain or shine?? Jayne- I heard the forecast might be rain in Chicago on Friday- there I go again. My little Weather Witch is working overtime.
    Suzy- you had me at Haider Ackerman, so Giambattista Valli is just icing on the cake. I am presently LIVING in my Isabel Marant denim jumpsuit. A big Thank you to both you and CC for the invites but sadly, I won’t have the time to get to Evanston on THIS trip, however I am soooo keeping all of this great info. for the next visit, including going to the theatre, as I must admit Susan, it has never occurred to me to do that in Chicago. So silly, I know.
    I have heard that AVEC is great, and Jayson Home- I have to go there- have never been. As for The Violet Hour…Yay! thanks so much Justine and KC for reminding me! I’m dragging my husband there for a cocktail before dinner on Friday night. I have to go just for that heavenly name alone (from Bernard DeVoto’s The Hour, I assume)

    And many thanks for all the compliments on my 100 year old ‘Icebox’! Yes, it is refurbished on the inside now- I’ll include it in another post. Imagine the stories it could tell.
    We’ve solved the question of the white flower growing like a weed up my driveway- Anemone Japonica.

    Lastly, I’m so pleased that many of you loved Burchfield’s paintings as much as I do. Apologies for spelling his name incorrectly at first. With his book sitting right on my desk too. That’s what happens when you write posts after midnight :0. Sorry about that Chuck!

    OK, I HAVE to go finish packing. In my next life I want a Packing Faerie. No, wait…what am I saying…I want a Packing Faerie in THIS life- right about NOW.

    • any weather for the architectural tour if you haven’t taken it……..THE American city for architecture and so fun to do on a boat……….no walking!

  37. In response to the recommendation to the “old school” Peninsula Hotel: It is my favorite, but you may be interested to know about the “newer school” Elysian Hotel. It is quite lovely. The building is gorgeous (it is the Marc Jacobs building 🙂 ). The restaurants are really fab. The rooms are more 1940’s modern than the English traditional look of the Peninsula and Four Seasons. It is worth at least driving by and going through the carport!

  38. LOVED this post too! Those flowers! That refrigerator..amazing! so very cool.
    Well, take your umbrella just in case. My husband and I are going to be in Chicago tomorrow nt. Not sure where we are eating yet, but want to try The Purple Pig (500 N.Michigan) I seem to remember you mentioning something about bone marrow once…they have that on their menu under “smears” roasted bone marrow with herbs..would LOVE to share a cocktail with you! I’ve been wanting to try Xoco too…Soooo much to do in Chicago…I always come home feeling like I didn’t get it all in. I have been to Avec twice and like it..The Gage is great..heard the Violet Hour is as well. All the suggestions posted were good…have a great time…

  39. Pingback: Things I Love Thursday « The Princess and the P

  40. Ooh, love those sunflowers and anemones! Fantastic fridge, Slim.

    Enjoy Chicago, one of my favorite cities. Hit the Field Museum and Art Institute if you have time, plus the Magnificent Mile, of course.

  41. Slim –

    I’m sure you know that La Cornue makes an oven that’s almost a dead ringer for your fridge – at least in terms of finish – it’s only about a b’jillion dollars but wouldn’t that be a tasty combo!

  42. I keep thinking your blogs can’t keep up the pace of perfection. But you do!!! Thank you for tip. I’m in NYC in two weeks for a few days and will add Whitney to list which of course starts with Asia Society, then FIT Museum, Met, MOMA, Guggenheim. In fact after looking at this blog think Whitney goes 2nd to Asia Society! I personally never visit Chicago without going to Museum of Science and Industry to see the Colleen Moore doll house. If you don’t know it you’d love it — the fairy castle with chandelier made of late Colleen’s (she was friend of mine) major diamond necklace. Little pure gold fixtures in bathroom that release hot and cold water. A weeping willow tree that weeps liquid tears. And much more……………….Happy travels!

  43. Welcome to my city, Slim! Look forward to reading your post/viewing your pictures depicting Chicago highlights. Stop at The Chopping Block (cooking demo/store) if you go into the Merchandise Mart. Have breakfast at Pierrot Gourmand at the base of The Peninsula Hotel–you will love it. Hit the Green City Farmers Market-Lincoln Park by the Zoo on Saturday morning just to get a flavor for the Midwest market. Happy and Safe travels!

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  45. Your kitchen is so attractive.

    I’m longing for summer here. It’s been a long cold winter and all it does these days is rain. Good for the garden bad for my hair.

    I saw on the news tonight that there is a Wally Simpson/Let me shower you with jewels Duchess exhibition starting in London and touring the world-lots of lovely Cartier baubles like the charm bracelet with crosses and some of the leopard brooches.

    Can you please buy one and do a long post about it? I think the bracelet is very you. You know the one- emeralds, rubies etc. Lots of nice engraced love messages too.

    Enjoy Chicago. Give my best to Ole Oprah.

    Cheerio FF x

  46. Thanks again Slim for a wonderful post. I should have listened to you about the Playing With Fire and Water site. It is amazing. I found a candy recipe there I have not made in years. I plan on making the candy today!!!! I really appreciate your sharing these sites.

    The pics with your new camera are great. Have a wonderful trip, and enjoy your time with your son. Looking forward to hearing about the food, fashions and everything else. I love how you make us feel like we are right there with you on all of your journeys.

    B J

  47. Your refrigerator is amazing. I am so excited to get a glimpse inside. I can’t imagine how you manage all of those different doors, but I know it must be fabulous.
    The sunflowers are beautiful. I can hardly wait to see your Chicago post, especially your report on dinner at Alinea. I am so happy you visited the Mid-West.

  48. I love the flowers and the art! I had just come in from admiring my anemones blooming here in my Michigan garden. Those are the white flowers in your arrangement. I am from the Chicago area and LOVE that city. I know that you will have a wonderful time. Do not forget the Art Institute and the Magnificent Mile and the Oceanarium and the beautiful lakefront parks.

  49. If its raining in New York, Slim must be in town! If you are in New York at the end of this week, be sure to make a stop at the Art & Antiques show at the Park Avenue Armory (67th & Park) VIP Opening Wed. eve. Stop by our booth!

    • Of course! I AM here Jayne. It’s ALMOST funny…but not quite…
      I will be stopping by the Armory show 🙂 Looking forward to it. That will be me in the Wellington boots!

  50. Could you share where you acquired the “rolling pin” holder behind the stand mixer? Love the post. Thank you.

    • That is actually a dispenser that holds wax paper, tin foil, Saran wrap, and paper towel.
      It has serrated edges, but certainly could be used to hold a rolling pin- that never occurred to me!
      Unfortunately I got it many years ago, I believe from Martha Stewart, and haven’t been able to track down another one since. If you find one, will you let me know?!

  51. Hi. Those white and pink flowers growing like mad in your driveway are Japanese Anemones. A fall blooming perennial.

  52. Hi SP:
    I am a new follower and am just getting caught up with your blog. Your white enamel refrigerator is absolutely to die for. LOVELOVELOVE IT! Thanks for your great sense of humor and all the fabulous photos.

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  54. Oh Slim, I am so glad you reposted this because I am fairly new to your blog so didn’t see it before. The sunflower photos TOOK MY BREATH AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The fridge is fabulous!!!!!! Your sense of humor just cracks me up!!!! Keep up the good work! XO, Pinky

Would love to hear from you!