About carla

Writer, blogger, photographer, breast cancer survivor. I write about whatever strikes my fancy as I meander through life.

save the date for a delightful day in kennett square

On a snowy afternoon this is an awesome thing to receive in the mail! Save the date for the 2018 Bayard Taylor Home and Garden Tour!

Saturday, June 2, 2018 won’t come soon enough!

This is probably the best home and garden tour I’ve ever taken. Different kinds of homes and gardens, all interesting. If you’re looking for inspiration in your own home garden this is the perfect opportunity to find inspiration. And I will note that a lot of these gardeners tend to their gardens themselves.

In the fall I love Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s Historic House Tour, and Chester County Hospital’s Chester County Day, but once spring is here? This is one of the things I can’t wait for!

This event raises money to fund the children’s programs and adult literacy programs as well.

Planning for this event starts in early fall when the committee selects a variety of homes and gardens in a particular area of southern Chester County.

The self- guided tour showcases unique homes representing a mix of styles from historic homes and estates to charming cottages to sleek modern residences. Gardens range from large, lush professionally maintained to pocket sized patches of brilliant flowers some with sculptural accents, from the simple, but endearing, to the elaborate and extravagant.

Every detail is attended to, leading to a beautiful, carefree day of explorations into homes and neighborhoods seldom seen by the public. Thanks to the generosity of homeowners, local merchants and artists and especially the visitors, over $600,000 has been raised since the tour’s inception. These funds have greatly enhanced and enriched the experiences and lives of Kennett Square area children.

If you have never made time for this tour, make 2018 your year to attend this event!

I will note for the record I purchase tickets for this event like any other attendee. I am not compensated in any way, shape, or form by the home and garden tour committee for suggesting this event to the general public. I suggest this event because it’s marvelous.

The photos I have posted are mine from one of their garden tours, and I asked permission before taking photos outside only.

Stay safe in the winter weather this evening and dream of spring! 😊

a little visit to the grande dame of frazer

I visited my favorite grande dame in Frazer today. I had to make a stop at Home Depot, so I had to go say hello to Loch Aerie.

I did not go inside because I did not have permission, and as a matter of fact I stayed on the perimeter because it’s very muddy and I just wanted to see how the mansion looked.

Loch Aerie is looking happier. Seriously. Her new owners have accomplished so much already! This is an awesome adaptive reuse happening.

You will notice when you look at the picture of the rear that they did have to tear off that back sort of porch enclosure because it was, well, rotting. So I’m not surprised by that in the least.

Loch Aerie is going to be lovely when she is finished! I can’t wait!

have you taken a “master’s” class yet?


I had not taken a cooking class in years before this morning. The last cooking class I took was in a beautiful private home in Bryn Mawr. But it was less hands on and more lecture. This cooking class today, an Italian Baking Class, was totally hands on and fun!
The Italian Baking Class is one of the series of baking classes offered by The Master’s Baker in West Chester, PA. The classes are moderately priced and worth every penny!

We arrived at 11 a.m. Parts of our groups were friends, and others like myself, had just signed up by ourselves. I am a decent home cook, but there are plenty of thing I want to learn how to make. Like focaccia. I am not a facile yeast bread person. So this was a great class for me to start with!
We were taken back to the kitchen and were set up in what is normally the large decorating room and split up into pairs. Then the fun began with Pastry Chef Patricia Polin.

The hours flew by as we made Focaccia, Parmesan Rosemary Grissini (like a breadstick), Dolci di Amalfi (almond lemon olive oil cake), and Biscotti.

We learned a lot about the baking process. We baked using a scale- measuring the ingredients by weight.

I loved everything I made except my Biscotti. They are not super attractive because I was impatient cutting them before the twice-baked stage.


It was a lovely group of ladies and I will definitely be taking another class when I find one I want. I highly recommend taking one of the Master’s Baker classes. I am told plans for the future include mommy and me (mother and child) classes, and more!

The Master’s Baker is a fabulous specialty bakery (wedding cakes, custom birthday cakes, and special orders only, no regular bakery cases and street traffic, etc). They are located at 319 West Gay Street, West Chester, PA 19380. We are customers of theirs, which is how I learned about the class I took today.

how is this a properly contained construction site?

A reader sent me this photo just now as they went by the location of where this is. Yes, a construction site where a house was torn down, but the foundation which is wide open, remains.

The photo came with a note:

They tore the house down and the foundation is sitting there wide open with that little pink ribbon keeping people out

The reader asks how is this safe and I wonder, where is the constitution fencing? There is not much to deter the curiosity seekers, and this could be dangerous couldn’t it?

The location I am told is S. Cedar Hollow Rd and Paoli Pike. Again, I am not there personally, this photo was sent to me. Here is hoping whichever municipality it is, they get the site a little more secure.

rainy day kitchen tips

First of all, could it be any more miserable outside today? Since I’m housebound and I had not oiled my wooden spoons and cutting boards in a while, I figured I would do that today as it does not take much time.

Yes, cutting boards and wooden spoons should be oiled.

I can’t take credit for this kitchen tip or kitchen trick, my husband was the one who pointed out the obvious here a few years ago. I noticed in a cupboard he had a bottle of food grade cutting board and wood block oil. I asked what it was for, and he told me. I had never known to do that as much as I cook.

This is totally simple advice and if you take the time to buy the food grade oil, which is mineral oil based, you will extend the life of your cutting boards and your wooden spoons and your butcher block if you have one. Oiling the cutting boards means they don’t warp and don’t dry out. Oh and you won’t get splinters!

I use the Howard brand of cutting board and butcher block oil. I also love their furniture wax and oil.

It is totally simple to oil the cutting boards and wooden spoons. I use paper towels. I put the oil on the paper towel and I gently rub in the direction of the grain.

I should back up. There is a step for the spoons in the cutting boards before I oil them. I read about it somewhere and quite simply it’s you make a paste out of salt and lemon juice to help extra clean your boards and spoons. Or you can just wash them with soap and water and let them dry – I never let them soak in water because they will warp and split. And that goes for both wooden spoons and cutting boards.

I always keep my cutting boards very clean, and I also read that some people use peroxide after they have had raw meat on a cutting board.

Whatever you clean your cutting boards with before you oil them, they must be perfectly dry before you oil them.

When you apply the oil you need to do so evenly. And you need to give it a few hours I think to soak in. If after a few hours anything seems sticky or greasy, buff it up a little bit with clean paper towel to soak up any excess oil. (Again, this cutting board and butcher block oil is food grade and mineral oil based.)

Anyway, it’s such a simple and easy thing to do, and it helps extend the life of your wooden kitchen things. If you use wooden salad bowls and salad servers, you also might want to oil them once in a while as well.

I also oil my kitchen cabinets. They are vintage at this point and original to the house so they need occasional love too. I try to oil my cabinets once a month, and as for the other oiling of cutting boards and wooden spoons it usually ends up being twice a year.

Thanks for stopping by. Stay dry today.