Did it suddenly get really cold in Chicago? Or have I just not gotten out much lately? Well in addition to the first blazing fireplace this winter (sorry I missed shooting that), here are some attempts to warm up our family room …
Candles on an old Chinese trunk used as a coffee table:
The candles — votives with an exotic scent — are sitting on a Diwali diya tray gifted by my sister-in-law, and making the golds shine on a piece of lacquerware and a wood/rattan basket both found in Thailand. Hidden in the basket was a surprise and just what I needed — matchbooks! From restaurants. What restaurants carry matchbooks anymore? These things are almost antique! Plus you mean to tell me this basket has been sitting around forever with matches in it, silently jeering at us while we ran around looking for matches? Well, yes. But with a tip of the lid, it’s now a secret no more.
Oh, and what’s that over there?
It’s a Maine Coon cat, and you know they’re warm because they’re built to survive in the cold. And at 17 pounds, this warm cat can cover a lot of lap. He’s like a big bear blanket.
And there beyond the big warm cat is an old Chinese burl wood cabinet.
Hey what’s that shiny thing hanging down? I get distracted by shiny gold things.
It’s the end of a brass chain, leading up to this bell found at a temple in Bangalore:
Er, not found as in, you know, stolen found from a temple … I purchased it. Then I hauled the heavy thing across the world.
I love the wood on the Chinese cabinet. It doesn’t give off heat, but it is another kind of warm.
Also to keep the chills at bay, a bottle of vin santo and almond cookies to go with it.
We were introduced to vin santo in Tuscany. It’s a dessert wine. So delicious, we sought sources of it as soon as we returned home. This is a 22-year-old bottle that I found in a liquor shop that had recently changed ownership. The cork was even sealed with wax. The crate was in the very last aisle of the store in a corner so dark you could barely see the words “vin santo,” and with webs to brush away so I was afraid to stick my hand in the crate. But stick my hand in I did, and I found a bottle so underpriced, it made me gasp. This place was far more used to pricing and selling tequila and beer. So I filled my cart with all the vin santo bottles. Clearly these jewels were forgotten. And believe me we’ve given them a good home!
We figured the wintery cold called for opening a bottle, and a good evening was had by all. Sigh. Sounds like a fairy tale. Some evenings can be.