Abigail Cahill O'Brien

Archive for February, 2010|Monthly archive page

Best Classic Everyday Glasses: Picardie Tumblers

In Feathering the Nest on February 25, 2010 at 6:30 am

Picardie glass tumblers, $79 for a set of 24 (assorted sizes) at Williams Sonoma

About nine month ago we stocked up on Ikea glasses for everyday use.  We like them, but between our clumsy butterfingers and the dishwasher’ tendency to eat them for breakfast, it’s beginning to feel like an Agatha Christie novel in our cupboard . . . and then there were five.

I settled on the above Picardie Tumblers.  Their French bistro curves put me in mind of lazy afternoons whiled away at a cafe.  Reviewers say they withstand a bounce on the floor, which is a job requirement in our house.  In the long run, they’ll go nicely with the Laguiole flatware we’re eying.

The runner up was the sturdy and respectable, not to mention affordable, Working Glass from Crate & Barrel.  These come with a plastic lid, so they can double as food storage containers.  The lines are more akin to a jam jar.

Handsome, no?

These two glasses strike me as masculine and feminine versions on a theme.

Working Glass, $.50-1.50 at Crate & Barrel

French Bull Salad Servers

In Uncategorized on February 24, 2010 at 6:30 am

Melamine salad servers, $13 at French Bull

Cheeriest Picnic Accessory Ever.

Spotted via happy lady eats.

Spring Shoes: Wedges, Loafers, and Oxfords

In Fashion on February 23, 2010 at 6:30 am
Ipswich Kiltie Wedge by Rachel Comey, $345 at shopbop

There are so many lovely femme fashions this spring, and I’m just not digging ballet flats with them.  To temper the florals and ruffles, I’m gravitating towards shoes that have a dash of menswear, leavened with a wedge or perhaps metallics.  The Rachel Comey pair above hits all the right notes.  Sadly it has the price tag to match – but there are plenty of less spendy options.

Oxfords are looking oh so cool right now, especially on long-legged girls or those with petite, narrow feet.  I stick to the low-vamped variety, or else risk looking like I have two cement bricks below my ankles.

Cut out Oxford by Belle by Sigerson Morrison, $220 at La Garconne

Cutouts keep the oxford look light.

Lamp Wedges by Jeffrey Campbell, $110 at Lori's Shoes

Love the elongating wedge and nude color.

Snakeskin Oxfords, $129 at Anthropologie

Snakeskin is unexpected.

Trompe L'oeil metallic wingtip, $140 at Anthropolgie

A witty take on the wingtip.

Metallic Sperry Top-Sider boat shoe, $98 at J. Crew

These will be even better worn in, with a cracked patina.

Keane fringe loafers, $100 at Top Shop

Adorable with cropped black jeans, or a floral dress.

Discovery: Pip & Estella

In Feathering the Nest on February 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Globe print, $36 at Pip & Estella

I’m loving the online boutique Pip & Estella, discovered via My Favorite and My Best.

The shop’s smallish selection of vintage bohemian accessories and textiles can be purchased individually, or as sets designed to work together.

The globe print above would cheer up a kid’s room or library.  I’d get a kick out of spooning soup with the graphic iron ladle below.  And there’s something deliciously cheeky about a brass tray edged in bamboo.

Iron ladle, $12 at Pip & Estella

Brass serving tray with bamboo edge, $24 at Pip & Estella

Decorating With Vintage Lobster Buoys

In Feathering the Nest on February 19, 2010 at 6:30 am

My mom stumbled on these vintage wooden lobster buoys while I was out of town.  Put ’em on the ever-growing list of Things For Which I Owe Mom, right after Life Itself and Style Persnickety-ness.

Check out the patina.  Wowzas. I haven’t a clue what to do with them, which might mean they’re already in the perfect spot by the door.

If you’re in the market for something similar, Wisteria and Pottery Barn both offer wooden buoys, but to me they look like they’ve been battered by a inch-thick chain rather than the open sea.  Go to the following sources for more authenticity:  Nautical Supply Shop, Downeast Nautical Salvage and The Palabra Shop.

Easy No-Bake Ice Box Cake

In Food on February 18, 2010 at 12:17 pm

When I asked my husband what he wanted for his birthday, he ticked off a long list of food: “Lasagna, Brussel sprouts, ice box cake, brownies . . .”

And so, tonight we’re having lasagna, Brussel sprouts and ice box cake.   (Brownies later in the weekend, unless I get ambitious, which is unlikely, because lasagna is not my forte and it’s looking pretty daunting at the moment, but that’s another post.)

If you know the ice box cake, a.k.a. refrigerator cake, you probably love it with childlike wonder – “How are you so wonderful when I did so little to you?”  If you’re just making it’s acquaintance, be prepared to fall hard for the following reasons:

1. Only two ingredients required – whipped cream and Nabisco’s famous Chocolate Wafers.

2. Under no circumstances will you have to bake separate layers and frost and roll them.  Or sift flour.  Or bake at all, for that matter.

3.  You can make it in any shape!  Letters, numbers, exclamation points.  Kids love that, and so do 32 year old men with names beginning in G.  Heck, everyone loves shapes.

Here’s the how-to; scroll down for pictures of it in process.

I used 4 cups heavy cream and 1 1/2 packages of chocolate wafers, so adjust according to your needs.  Whip heavy cream, adding vanilla extract along the way (I used 2 tsp).  Spread whipped cream on a wafer and stick another wafer to it, making a sandwich.  Stack the wafers vertically and begin building your desired shape.  When your shape is finished, frost the outside with the remaining cream.  Chill for 4 to 6 8 hours, or freeze until firm and thaw for 1 hour before serving.

Now, I’m not about to cut into his birthday cake at 11:06 in the morning, but if you look at the box in the picture below, you can see how it looks when you slice into it.  The whipped cream renders the wafers cake-y.

Tweet That

In Uncategorized on February 18, 2010 at 2:29 am

All you tweetie birds can now keep up with new 5thjoy posts via Twitter.  Sign up to follow 5thjoy here.

Preview: H&M Garden Collection

In Fashion on February 17, 2010 at 6:30 am

$59.95 at H&M

The internet is awash with Fall Fashion Week images, what with their beige and brown and black and fur.  There’s snow on the ground.  I should be gearing up for a weekend of wintry grub and movies.  But gosh darn it, I’m in the mood for wallet-friendly, warm weather frippery.

H&M’s Garden Collection might do the trick, if I can wait until the end of March. Below are my favorites.  View the whole shebang here.

$49.95 at H&M

$49.95 at H&M

$29.95 at H&M

$39.95 at H&M

$59.95 at H&M

$24.95 at H&M

Discovery: Shop Goodwill Online!

In Feathering the Nest on February 16, 2010 at 10:20 am

Did you know Goodwill has an online auction site?  I’ve just discovered it, and I’m smitten.  My family, that inveterate group of thrift pickers, begged me not to blog it.  But really, wouldn’t that be against the spirit of 5thjoy?

The inventory isn’t overwhelming, and once you’ve trolled the categories of interest the ‘new today’ section is a manageable way to keep up to date.  A warning: the watch list only holds 50 items.  I was clicking away for hours before realizing only 50 were saved.

My recent scores:  The above Big Ben alarm clock for $36, a good deal because a) I love these and b) this one actually works.

This two-foot tall brass justice scale for $75, inspired by this handsome but gulp-inducing $900 version.

This framed photograph of a flapper, $37.

Get searching!

Top 10 Coffee Table Books: Photography

In Feathering the Nest on February 12, 2010 at 6:30 am

We have a new coffee table arriving this week, so I’m particularly jazzed about the books that might grace it.

As many of us gravitate towards e-readers, my sense is that the physical books we’ll buy will be the drop-dead gorgeous ones.  Take a peek at my ten favorite photography tomes, and stay tuned for more fashion, decor and food books.

What’s on your coffee table (or wish list)?

All images click through to Amazon.