Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm in Chicago!

I am in Chicago visiting my oldest daughter, Katie. I am on her Apple laptop and loving it. We went to her new Michael's and she took me to her eyeglass place. She wants me to update my look, O.K. I'm an old mom. I love coming up here, I ride the train for about 5 hours. She lives close to Think Small by Rosebud. It's a nice miniature store, and they have a lower level for miniaturists to work on their dollhouses.
We are going to make strawberry jam tomorrow, and then I will ride the train home. I am watching Top Chef and eating Swedish Fish and writing to you all, this is just so much fun.

I was reading her Country Living magazine,(British Edition), it's lovely. I have a question for our English miniaturists . . . .I have researched the Aga range. I think it's neat that it is always on. Are there other ranges like this? Is this called a range or cooker because it is always on? We generally call them stoves, but they turn on and off. Shed a little light on this for me. I suspect the Aga range is expensive.

Joy, I have your settee almost finished, the frame work with the legs needs another coat of finish, I will do that when I get home.

We need to go shopping for strawberries, so I will say talk to you later, Kris


  1. Have a nice time, Kris!
    Love, Susanne

  2. Sounds like your having a great time, Kris. Enjoy!!!

  3. Info from the UK -
    Rayburn is another make of range - Phoenix make a white metal miniature as a kit, which looks more like the Rayburn than the Aga.

    Agas are expensive! And too powerful for most modern (insulated) and smaller homes. And a pain to relight (the coke/coal fired ones) if they go out (a friend had one).

    There's some info on the history of the range here -


  4. Sounds like you're having a wonderful time! Enjoy the Jam making.

    I, too, have aften wondered about these Aga stoves.cookers. I cannot imagine having a stove on all the time, especially in the summer. I don't even use mine in the summer. But I'd guess these things must have a fair amount of insulation in them. I am not sure why they are considered superior to a regular old Kitchen Aide but I noticed that many high end decorators use them.

  5. You are in my area! :D It's a shame you won't be in town this weekend; the smaller Bishop show is in Palatine (suburb of Chicago).

  6. There are Esse as well I think from my range research, but Agas were the trail blazers in the 20s as a different means of cooking making life for the housewife easier (the history is quite interesting) One thing I found interesting was that even when first introduced in the UK they were a prestige item. :-)
    If you read forums about Agas, you get totally opposing views on whether they are wonderful or an expensive 'show off' in the modern home.

    I'm Australian, but many country homes here in the 30s - 60s, without electricity relied on similar ranges for heat and hot water as well.

  7. Hi Kris sounds like your having lots of fun :)

    In the UK I think a Aga would just be refereed to as. 'A Aga' or 'A Rayburn' because they are so well know. On goggling they are advertised as a cooker.

    Lots of the old farm houses in part of the UK have them but they usually have a standard cooker as well tucked away in the utility room. The Agas are wonderful in large farmhouse kitchens, so homely & perfect for the farm cats and dogs to warm themselves by. No problems getting washing dry either & fantastic for bread making :)

    Some friends had one and after a few days away came home to all their home covered in black soot, the flue had got blocked :(

    I don't think the farmhouse style is quite as popular now with folks that want to impress. The very large sparkling stainless steel cookers seem to be the thing. Even going to the extreme of having a his and hers cooker!!!

    Thank you for letting me know about my settee ♥ can't wait to see :) xxxxxxxxxx

  8. I Love Chicago, I've been there 3 times. If you get a chance visit the Thorne Rooms. Or if you dont have time now maybe another time.


  9. I'm a Rayburn girl myself but Aga and Rayburn are the same company now, mostly the obviously difference is the hotplate shape, round for Aga, rectangle for Rayburn and someone else here is right we just call them by their names, they are so iconic.

    They are fantastic to have in your house but they do take some getting used to. Over my childhood we had every type there is fuel wise and obviously the gas ones are easier to run than the solid fuel or even oil ones.

    Some of ours supplied all the hot water and central heating for the house so they are rather more than just a cooker. Yes you do keep them on all the time but they are fairly insulated and the hotplate has a cover. The kettle boils in moments if you earn the trick of keeping it just on the edge of the hot plate so it's warm all the time !

  10. The original AGA stoves were solid fuel cooker. They were usually fueled with coal.

    For using them think about building a fire in your woodstove and covering the coals at night to keep them just burning (banked) then in the morning you stir up the fire and add more fuel. That is the principal behind "always on". You don't have to put in fresh coals and wait a half hour for the fire to get going in the mornings or evenings.

    As to the warmth, yes they do give off a bit of heat but nights and mornings in England, Germany and Northern France are often cold even in the summer time so the warmth the stove creates is a desirable feature rather than a negative.

    With the new models that are gas fired or electric they are used just like any other modern stove. Turn them on only when you need them as you can get instant heat.