Saturday, January 5, 2013


In an earlier post, I wrote about researching an article on antique boxes for Victoria magazine. Some of you wanted to know when it would be published. Well, I'm delighted to tell you that the issue with the article is now out! Doesn't the cover look enticing with the beautiful teacups?

My article, entitled "The Allure of Antique Boxes", explores the history of antique boxes. It was a joy interviewing antique box collector, Barbara Ashford, proprietor of Henhouse Antiques—a treasure trove of fine antique European boxes and other furnishings in Birmingham, Alabama. I relish the articles that incorporate history as it reassures me that my history degree was not totally in vain! With my lifelong love of history, I had always intended to use my history degree to become a museum curator or archivist but somehow ended up a writer and editor. I never even pursued my dream of becoming a curator or archivist but I should not lament it too much as I have been putting my journalism degree to good use!

All of the 19th-century boxes featured in the article are examples of tea caddies and lap desks, which unfold to reveal writing slopes. Most of them came equipped with lock and key. When tea was introduced in England in the late 17th century, it was an expensive commodity and those who were wealthy enough to afford it stored the leaves in lockable tea caddies. The lady of the house often kept the caddy key on a chatelaine around her waist so that overly curious servants would not be tempted to pilfer the contents. For more insights on these versatile remnants of the past, please check out the article in the January/February issue of Victoria.

Also on newsstands is Victoria's special interest publication, Best of Bliss. I have one article (on the luxurious Fearrington House Inn in North Carolina) in this publication as well. 

Don't those heart cookies of the cover (above) look tempting? Speaking of sweets, I had to make an additional batch of SOFT strawberry candy as someone with a sweet tooth (not me!) ate all of my previous batch in one night. To those of you who emailed me questions about how the candies are formed, they are shaped by hand into strawberries. As they cure, they lose their shininess and eventually dull to a matte appearance but they remain soft. The ones I showed in my earlier post were freshly molded and thus, shinier than these that have cured for 24 hours. Hopefully, these will be it for the season! Time for us to get back to healthier eating! 
NOTE: Several of you who contacted me about the recipe are no-reply bloggers, meaning that no return email address came through with your emails. If you have requested the recipe and not yet received it, it is because you are no-reply bloggers and I have no way of returning your emails. Please email me directly at the email button under my profile pic and I will email you the recipe!