The Kitchen Window

The Kitchen Window
Antique Milk Bottles with Herbs and Flowers


Welcome to the Frog Hollow Farm blog! I've been blogging since January 2010 and have switched from Blogger to Word Press, but I'm back to Blogger because, for me, it's easier to use. My husband and I live on a little farm in Northwest New Jersey. We have some chickens and a very large vegetable garden with asparagus and raspberries, and rows and rows of sunflowers, snapdragons and zinnias. Traveling, entertaining, gardening, spending time with family, studying Italian, blogging and reading keep us busy and happy. With all of this going on, moving towards a simpler life seems almost impossible but it's definitely a daily goal.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Graceful Visitor

Sadly, I have not been paying enough attention to my blog, nor have I taken the time to visit many of your recent posts.  We're in the middle of getting ready to paint our living room and dining room, and also working with a couple of wonderful ladies from Design Works (Susan and Pam) here in Northwest New Jersey to add a couple of new pieces of furniture that will give the rooms a makeover with a little sparkle. 

The space is the original farmhouse room, quite large, with a walk-in fireplace and stone walls that have been plastered and then covered  with a wide beadboard  in the 1940's- which was painted an off-white color.  This room also has five doors, which has made it a challenge with regard to the placement of furniture, etc.  One corner of the room has been dedicated to the dining room, the other larger part a sitting area - considered our living room. 

Here's where we are right now, Monday morning:

I covered one corner wall of the room with sheetrock, which will be wallpapered in a Thibaut wallpaper called 'Straw'
You can see the swatch if you look really closely to the left of the window (or click on the link). 

Benjamin Moore paints will be used on the rest of the walls, all wood.  We've chosen another yellow as the main color, also named 'Straw' - 'Filtered Sunlight' for an accent wall going up the stairs and also for some built-in cabinetry to the left of the walk-in fireplace, and 'Vanilla Ice Cream' for all of the moulding,doors and the inside of the two deep-set windows.  Our wonderful contractor Brian is helping us put with the sheetrocking and some other things, and our good friend Steve, who is a phenomenal painter, is doing all of our painting for us - right after his get-away trip with his wife Liz to Newport, Rhode Island. 

I'll post some photos when we're all done. 

In the meantime, I have been spending lots of time outside in this gorgeous weather we've been having here in New Jersey.  Yesterday we had another visit from what I think is a white egret, although I'm not certain. 

Hope you're having a great week.  Besides getting ready for our painter, we're hosting my family, the Irish clan, here at Frog Hollow Farm for a Labor Day barbeque.  It will be simple but fun - my family loves to sit and chat and eat (and drink) for hours so we'll be cooking up a storm. 

The next day we're leaving for South Hero Island in Vermont for a few days, our friend Dave has a wonderful old summer home right on Lake Champlain.  
We changed our plans of staying at The Willard Street Inn - maybe next time!

Ciao, bella!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


What better way to spend a day than creating delicious dishes with vegetables from our garden, and with some additions from the pantry, fridge or freezer - very yummy creations are usually the result. 

FHFB's vegetable garden is in full swing right now, most especially with tomatoes.  These little yellow gems have the most exquisite flavor, and they don't seem to split as much on the vine as the smaller cherry tomatoes. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Visualizing Italy

The other day I was in the dentist's office for a 3 hour appointment.  It seems that one of my root canals (my teeth hurt just typing those two words) - well, there was a problem with the root canal and one of my teeth needed to be extracted because the problem had extended into the bone.  Lovely, right?  Anyway, between the extraction and bone graft my dentist asked me if I wanted to watch a movie or wear the very expensive Bose headphones and listen to Andrea Bocelli. 

Now, I love listening to all Italian opera, as well as to Andrea Bocelli, I mean, who doesn't?  But I've worn those headphones before and even those the audio is fabulous, every sound the dentist's tools make seem to be exaggerated 10x with the headphones - so I opted out of wearing them for this appointment. 

Instead, I decided to visualize my way through Italy, remembering the cities, towns and villages we visited this past fall.  And you know what, it really worked!  It was so interesting because one memory would lead me to the next, and the next, and so on, until my appointment was just about done. 

Since I really enjoyed my visualized trip back through Italy, I thought I'd share some of the images with you.

Lake Como, the town of Bellagio...and Venice....

Tuscany farmland and vineyards...

Florence from Michaelangelo's Hill...

The Coliseum in Rome...

Inside the Pantheon in Rome, looking up at the oculus...

FHFB and I love to travel, but we don't like being over-scheduled and tend to stay away from tours that have early morning wake-ups and lots of driving in a bus.  We tend to book a great hotel and with recommendations from friends and family, hire an experiened and affordable tour guide for a few hours - otherwise we prefer discovering things on our own. 

I usually have the restaurants already researched and reserved for dinner, (La Giostra and Garga in Florence and Pier Luigi in Rome, although I know that there are hundreds more wonderful places to have dinner!)

Our lunches are very casual and if we find a great aperitivi bar we might even end up missing dinner. 

We are planning a trip to Ireland in the spring.  My mom grew up in a small village called Kilmactranny in County Sligo, on the west coast of Ireland. 

We're hoping to see the thatched farmhouse that she grew up in and visit with some relatives that we haven't seen in many years. 

I hope you enjoyed my little travel post. 

Ciao, bella!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Surprise in the Closet

I just got home from a Girl's Getaway with three fantastic women at the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank, New Jersey.  We had a blast, and the days went by so quickly!  I've posted about Red Bank before and the wonderful antique stores located there. 

Rather than list all of the stores and restaurants we visited and include photos of some of the beautiful antique peices that I found, I thought I'd share a photo of something on saw on Thursday morning on my way down to breakfast that was very interesting but unexpected. 

Here it is:

Believe me, it caught me by surprise and of course I had to stop and take a photo.  

It looks like he was looking for somebody, doesn't it? 

He didn't seem to notice me though. 

Do you see the Mrs. standing demurely in the background? 

I also wanted to get in on Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound but I always forget that I need to post by Friday evening, so here's the photo I was going to use. 

It's a hibiscus flower that I photographed in Cape May, New Jersey last month.  I'm thinking about getting a hibiscus topiary for the farm - but I'm not sure where I would put it yet. 

I hope your weekend is going beautifully and that you are relaxing and enjoying time with friends and family.  My daughter is home for the weekend and we're taking her back home to Brooklyn tomorrow, hopefully stopping at some of my favorite food shops and boutiques as well.  

Ciao, bella! 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Baby Rowan's Quilt

A dear friend's daughter had her first baby in June, a sweet little cherub-faced boy named Rowan.  I wanted to make something special for this baby, and since I had retired in January I was determined to put together a baby quilt as a gift for the new baby. 

I found a quilt kit at a store called Quilt Addicts in Queensland, Australia and ordered it right away.  This quilt kit had all of the pieces pre-cut along with the borders - I posted a brief blog post about it as soon as I received the kit in the mail. 

Here are a few photos of the process. 

If you can sew a straight line you can put one of these together - really!!

The work station, my dining room table!

My sewing box, a gift from my mom before I was married.

Laying the quilt top on the kitchen table, pinning it to the batting and the quilt back, which was a solid piece of fabric.

I embroidered Rowan's name onto one of the borders, along with the date and our name, to make it more of a keepsake for him.

Here it is all finished, although you can't see all of it.  I took this picture before I knew how to adjust the camera for indoor lighting. 

This quilt is called an "I Spy" quilt because each triangle piece has pictures of things to find, just like an "I Spy" book. 

I hope that they have lots of fun finding the hundreds of little pictures hidden within each of the triangle pieces!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cape May

Cape May, New Jersey has always been a favorite get-away spot for FHFB and me.  Way back when, when our two children were little, we would steal away and stay at one of the beautiful old Victorian bed and breakfast homes for a few days of total rest and relaxation. 

Several years ago we also began celebrating my birthday in Cape May, along with my very special birthday sister, Carol. 

Cape May has a lot to offer for the single traveler, couples and families.  This year we stayed at the Sand Piper Hotel right on Beach Avenue.  The location of this hotel is really fantastic, althought the rates are a little high during their peak season.  Here's a view from our balcony, sorry about the yellow van but you can see how close we were to the beach. 

FHFB and I really love so many things about Cape May.  Of course, the Victorian homes are magnificent, and staying at one of the Victorian bed and breakfasts is really a treat.  My favorite is The Mainstay Inn - to me it is the most elegant of all the B&B's we've stayed at in Cape May - it was originally the town's gambling house in the late 1890's.

We love staying at interesting hotels and inns when we travel, and will be staying at the Willard Street Inn in Burlington, Vermont in a few weeks - that is also a beautiful B&B as well and Burlington is a wonderful small city to visit.  But, I digress....

Here are just a couple of the Victorian B&B's in Cape May:

The restaurants in Cape May are phenomenal - our favorite is 410 Bank Street, located right on Bank Street!! 
Everything on the menu is delicious  - FHFB's favorite is the oyster stew.  410 Bank Street is also a BYOB so your cost for dinner is a bit more reasonable when you can bring your own wine.  This is the entrance garden as you walk into the restaurant:

It's sister restaurant is Fresco's, right next door!

Freda's Cafe is a little place that we stopped in for lunch.  Everything was delicious and freshly made. 

Another restaurant that has been in Cape May for many years is the Washington Inn.  It's a little traditional for us, but we were happy to see that they have added a wine bar to the restaurant, which serves a delicious small plate menu. FHFB and I prefer this type of dining to full out gourmet table dining - the more casual and the more options, the better for us.  The wine bar isn't mentioned on their website, but it's really worth stopping by.

Of course, if there's shopping, then you'll find me.  Cape May has some very nice shopping areas, the main area being a closed off street mall call the Washington Street Mall.  One of my favorite shops there is called The Whale's Tale - they have great jewelry - I picked up some earrings and a necklace by Holly Yashi - I love her colorful pieces. 

Here are a few more shops that are located on the Washington Street Mall:
I just loved this little window - isn't it adorable?  FHFB took this picture - it's the window to a little store called Bath Time and it's chock full of wonderful, luxurious things for the bath!  I know it looks like it's a kids store, but it's not at all, just whimsical.

Other shops out and about Cape May, but within walking distance are:
This is one of those stores for your pets.  I loved the window design in this store as well:
This little Victorian Mall is a bit outside of town but has a wonderful shop called The Bird House of Cape May, where they sell beautiful bird houses and bird feeders all made in the United States.  We purchased a beautiful little bird house with a copper roof and a great feeder for the winter.  The people there are very helpful and informative.

Other things to do in Cape May:
take a horse and buggy ride through town...

or ride the trolley.

One thing that we love to do whenever we're driving home from a long trip is to take the back roads, hoping to discover some interesting antique shops and restaurants.  We found just the thing a little bit out of town on old Route 9 in Swainton.  Dottie Page has a great antique shop called Ancient of Days Antiques. 

When we pulled up she was still straightening up from a wedding that was held on her property the day before.  The shop is actually a collection of small cottages all set on a lovely landscaped property. 

She has so many things that she also uses the backs of trucks to display some of it - all open with steps leading up so that you can go inside to poke around for something unique.  We purchased a set of antique dishes with the prettiest green design around the edges.  I could have spent all day there poking around.

I hope you enjoyed traveling to Cape May with me!

I'll be linking over at The Tablescaper for Summer Sunday!!