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Steve  Life in a Greek Revival cottage in the city, an Urban Cottage, Boston/Cambridge, MA. Historical/vintage style, food, art, pottery, New England, cats.

If you’re an art lover, there’s so much—actually, too much—to do and see this time of year. There are often several open studios and pottery tours each weekend making it difficult—actually, impossible—to see them all. A friend of mine asked me to tag along to the Lexington Open Studios a few weekends ago where I visited the studio of Julie Laukkanen. I’m not usually one for bright colors in my house but I was smitten with Julie’s “Maine Woods” painting. I think it really works in my study and I love that I can see if from my kitchen sink. It’s also a great backdrop for the blue and white pottery and gratuitous photos of lily of the valley. Check out Julie’s work at @fearlesswithcolor and Gallery Twist in Lexington, MA.

Whether your kids are human, canine, feline, avian, or reptilian, wishing you a happy Mother’s Day.

My lavender didn’t survive the winter so I’m looking at it as an opportunity to add more foliage variation and winter interest. Hakonechloa grass adds some yellow and will be nice contrast to all the purple flowers in the garden. A few boxwood will replace the lavender on the far right. A garden is always a work in progress.

Many of the flowers blooming right now take me back to my childhood. Lily of the valley, lilac, and wild violets have strong Mother’s Day associations. My grandmother called these sweet purple wildflowers Johnny Jump Ups when they’d appear under the old ash tree next to the chicken coop.

When I ripped out the old cement patio off my back porch, these quickly appeared in the new
garden. I take their appearance as a visit from her...at the back door where the best of friends and family arrive.

I don’t know how this little guy by @rebeccadoughtyart got water marks on the edges but I think it’s from a month of raindrops.

I see this gentleman walking his dog all the time. I’m so impressed with the dog who seems totally disinterested in the birds. #centralsquarema #pigeonwhisperer #hesgotbread #gooddog

Lincoln, Massachusetts.

I had to stake my hyacinths after 2-1/2 inches of rain made them flop over. I hope they last until the tulips open. I love to see how the garden changes every day this time of year.

The hot cross bun recipe on NY Times Cooking garnered a lot of comments—I assume from Brits—that HCBs don’t have icing. So, wanting to try a proper Easter bun, I looked up the suggested recipe from BBC Good Food (which happened to be Paul Hollywood’s for you Great English Baking Show fans). The dough is a lovely, soft enriched yeasted dough filled with holiday flavors of candied orange and lemon peel, currants, fresh chopped apple and cinnamon. They’re a lot of work with three provings, two keadings, weighing of dough for symmetrical buns and baking at 200 C. fan for 20 minutes (American translation: exactly 392 F. in a convection oven for 18 minutes—mine almost burned!) The major departure from our American HCBs is the cross is made with a paste of flour and water that’s piped on to the prebaked buns. The results were gorgeous but I can’t help but think the cross of flavorless flour paste is a missed opportunity. Why not use the cross to add some flavor? Maybe an almond flour paste? The buns taste wonderful but my American palate is missing the icing. My apologies to my English ancestors. Next year, I’ll experiment with different concoctions for more flavorful crosses.
So, get a cup of coffee and talk amongst yourselves: Are your buns frosted? Happy Easter, Happy Passover, Happy Sunday, Happy Spring, Happy Fall.

Kale is growing on me. I never knew about the massaging step that tenderizes the tough leaves. This is a salad of chopped kale, shaved raw Brussels, finely sliced shallot and lots of Parmesan shavings with a lemon dijon vinaigrette. All tastes better in a @leilitowfigh bowl.

This lousy peanut butter cookie recipe was supposed to make 2 dozen cookies. I could only eke out one.

The garden is all cleaned up and the winter pots have transitioned to spring. Pansies and moss recycled from holiday pots greet you at the front door with tulips, hyacinths and pansies in a large pot at the far end of the porch.

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