Diana Vreeland, Pink, Birthdays & Other Joyous Things

I've just realised, with a quiet "oh my", that it's been a year since The Library blog began. Talk about blink-and-miss.

I know others are having much more significant birthdays and anniversaries right now (Miss Faux Fuchsia for one, who's speed-blogging to reach a 1000 posts on her blog's third birthday), and a first birthday does feel very un-milestone-ish. For this reason, I thought I'd do something a little different. Instead of celebrating The Library's birthday, I thought I'd celebrate other lovely things instead.

So here, in a kind of 'reverse toast', is an ode to the things The Library loves most – starting with the wonder of Pink Champagne Cake and Caviar Pie and finishing with the beauty of books. I'll go back  into my writing hole now. {Image above via Christian Dior Spring/Summer 2011. The Library loves a bit of Dior.}

Nothing like a little cake to celebrate and whomever invented this needs to be hailed a goddess.
(Units: US | Metric)

18 1/4 ounces white cake mix (must be white to taste champagne)
1/2-3/4 cup pink or white champagne, chilled.
1 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup champagne
1 tablespoon vanilla
5 -5 1/2 cups additional powdered sugar

Use a box of white cake mix and substitute champagne for all of the liquid called for in the cake mix. So if the box says 3/4 cup water replace with 3/4 cup champagne.  Tint with red food coloring until mixture becomes a soft pink, usually 3 drops is enough. Bake cake as instructed on box. For an elegant layer cake use two round cake pans.
To make the creamy champagne frosting, beat 1 cup softened butter for 30 seconds. Gradually add 4 cups powdered sugar. Beat in 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup champagne, and 1 TB vanilla. Beat in 5-5 1/2 more cups powdered sugar till you can spread it or is consistency you want. Add red coloring till pink color, again slowly add a drop at a time till color you want. Frost completely cooled cake.
Cake is fantastic when refrigerated all night (so the flavours can blend) and served the next day.
{Image via the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, which makes the best Pink Champagne cakes on earth.}

MS DV was more than a fashion guru. She was a bit of a Martha Stewart as well. Who knew? Only in DV's case, everything had a bit of a twist. Like this – Caviar Pie. Have you ever seen anything as delicious? (Pic is mine; using toasties instead.}

1 1/2 cups minced white onion, scallions or green onions
8 large hard-cooked eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
8 ounces cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
8 ounces caviar*, 2 or more colors if desired

Spread the onion on paper toweling to drain. Mince the eggs and combine with mayonnaise; set aside. Beat the cream cheese and sour cream together; it should be very smooth.
Lightly coat a 9" round springform pan with butter or cooking spray. Spread the egg mixture evenly over the bottom and sprinkle the onions on top. Drop the cream cheese mixture by spoonfuls atop the onion layer and spread gently with the back of a spoon. (Wet the spoon, if necessary.) Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
Before serving, gently spread the caviar over the cream cheese layer in a decorative design. Use waxed paper or even string to outline your design. Accentuate with chopped chives, scallions or parsley, if appropriate.
Note: It's best to use inexpensive caviar in this recipe, such as Salmon, Whitefish, or Lumpfish. Some less expensive caviars do contain artificial coloring, however rinse the caviar in a strainer and drain on paper toweling before arranging and this will fix the problem.
Serve with good Champagne!

I love this image of Norman Parkinson's from Vogue 1955. We have a copy of the photo (bought in London) framed in our spare room. Seems a long way from Instagram, doesn't it? Long live classic photography.

Every time I think I've fallen for New York, I go to Paris and remember why it's still the most beautiful city in the world. {Source unknown: will try and find.}

Nothing lifts the spirit like colour. This new book, Colour, by Victoria Alexander charts the course of certain colours – including pink (named in the 17th century after a flower). It's beautifully photographed by Victoria, who should be applauded. A fabulous, fabulous read. (Murdoch Books)

Soft leather bags with lined insides, cute clutches, sweet straw numbers...(like this Kate Spade design, above). Nothing makes a woman feel 'put together' like a perfect handbag. Which is why we spend so much on them. I'm hoping someone comes up with a 'Swap' site eventually, so we can just pass em' round when we're finished.

I'm very fortunate to call the gorgeous Savannah designer Jane Coslick my friend. (She's running a tour of Tybee Island's famous homes in December too: see her website janecoslick.blogspot.com for details.) But really, all designers need to be applauded. It's not easy decorating a home so it looks stunning as well as comfortable. Such skill!  (janecoslick.com)

Look at this. La Reine Victoria. Isn't it sublime? Bet it smells like Heaven, too. {Via BloomandBlossom}

Essential for the soul. If you haven't gone anywhere amazing this year, make 2013 the year to do it. As Diana Vreeland (see below) once said: "A new dress doesn’t get you anywhere: it’s the life you’re living in that dress..." {Book via Assouline}

DV is The Library's unofficial saint. I think she might even be fashion's unofficial saint?
The new film of the magnificent life of this extraordinary magazine editor and museum curator is being eagerly awaiting by DV followers everywhere. I think it's due out soon in the US but it's not out in Australia yet, so in the meantime, I'd like to post this DV treat. It was sent to me by the lovely Janie from the Bumble at Home blog (bumbleathome.blogspot.com). She, in turn, received it from one of her worldly and stylish friends. Thank goodness for her friends!

Still one of the best sources of inspiration. I discovered Blair Eadie's beautiful, beautiful blog Atlantic-Pacific the other day. Her style is astonishing. So is her wardrobe budget. (atlantic-pacific.blogspot.com)

The Library loves manners, and people who are kind. Humour is also good, but nothing beats a heart of gold. (No pun intended for once.) Slim Paley (slimpaley.com) is one of the nicest bloggers in the social media world. And her eye for aesthetics is legendary. Thanks for the promotion of The Library on Twitter Slim! So humbled. Someone give this beautiful woman a book deal.

Has there ever been a more interesting, more ambitious, more extraordinary set of sisters? 
I've been re-reading Nancy Mitford's books in preparation for a visit to Chatsworth next year. Tenuous link, I know, but Debo's next.

Mille from The Laurel Hedge once recommended a superb site called Mandarina UK. Talk about shoe love. I've been an addict ever since. {www.mandarinashoes.co.uk}

If a flower can be ravishing, then surely peonies fit the description? 
The most beautiful peony garden I've ever seen was Bunny Williams' Litchfield Hills weekender, but apparently Weston's farm in Tasmania is pretty special too. If you're in Tassie, there's a tour this month on November 24. It's a once-a-year event, so very special. Email Karen Wagner on store@karenwagnergardendesign.com.au or phone the store 03 62341245) to book. 

So gorgeous. 
Nothing more needs to be said, really. The initials 'HM' pretty much sum this magnificent woman up.

Yves, we miss you.

Another Parisian legend. Do you know, I think Dior's recent collections these past few years might have been better than Chanel's?


I bought this for a pound in London last week. Let's hope Amazon doesn't kill all the wonderful secondhand bookstores of the world.

Blair Eadie again. Just because she's so inspirational with her colours and clothes.

Best wishes to everyone. I hope you all have a lovely week.

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