Saturday, July 8, 2017

Open Shelves Create Display Space for Treasures

For collectors of china, dishes, glassware and silver, displaying  the treasures and not completely covering your countertops is a challenge.  I mean a kitchen is meant for cooking - right?  Even after editing my culinary treasures when we sold our Chicago home, I still found myself overwhelmed by so much stuff.  And of course, I love it all and want to display it.  But I do need a few feet of counter space- I think????

Open shelves have really solved much of the problem .  I recently had the shelves in the prep kitchen and craft room installed and spent the day cleaning and placing treasures on the shelves. 

In the prep kitchen, open shelves allow many different display opportunities. 

 The shelves are 40 inches tall and 30 inches wide. I decided to display pieces that would add a
Paris bistro vide- silver domes, antique bakery cake stands, and black clay porcelain from Paris.

Daily dishes could also be a great alternative to store in these shelves, as the dishwasher is directly below them.  I can already envision them filled with old fashioned Christmas candies, tartan dishes  and Santa mugs at Christmas time. 

The little alcove shelf in the back of the faucet holds
old soda fountain bottles filled with dish detergent.

 Old bread boards and wine carafes are displayed with rustic dinnerware.
 antique weighted measuring cups from Europe with beautiful embossing. Notice the little lead weights that are attached to the handles.

Covered silver dishes for serving guests

In a pantry inside the prep kitchen, an open shelves hold serve and dinner ware.  Being open, it is very to see and grab what you need. 

 Brass powder coated shelves flank the brass sink in the dining hall  and hold special barware and glassware. They are lit from the top by black and brass sconces.
This sink area  serves as a bar when we have parties.

Vintage champagne coupes await the sound of bubbly.

Antique vintage barware. 

An open shelf cabinet from Restoration Hardware fits perfectly between the doors.  It will
be changed seasonally to showcase different collections.  Plus there is great storage underneath.

For now,  my collection of black transferware and pewter is displayed. 

Adding the back splash with the ledge on the top, allows display of cooking condiments and decorative pieces and keeps them off the countertops. 
 Gray powder coated shelves were added in the craft room to hold crafting supplies and
crafting creations.  
Acrylic boxes filled with old lace, rhinestone buckles and buttons sit beside
crafted treasures.  

Open shelves are very popular today, and a  nod to the kitchens of yesterday.  I find them to be
more useful to find, use  and enjoy what you have, rather than hiding everything behind
doors.  Yes, it means a bit more dusting, but why have  treasures if you can't enjoy them.
My mother in law used her sterling silver flatware everyday- that was a smart woman!

Friday, June 30, 2017

So Easy Hummingbird Cake

I was in the mood for a Southern  Hummingbird cake, but not in the mood for icing several layers of cake.  So I decided to make a Hummingbird pound cake recipe that I found on the internet from Bakers Royale.

 I gathered all the ingredients together to begin the easy process of making the batter.

I decided to substitute black walnuts for the pecans because I love their unique taste. A vendor at the Western North Carolina farmer's market sells them in large mason jars.  I always keep a jar on hand.

I baked the batter in a tube pan instead of a bundt pan, just so it would be easier to get out of the pan.

Next the simple cream cheese drizzle was mixed and poured on with a sprinkling of black walnuts.

 Fresh nasturtiums from the garden decorated the cake.

The cake quickly started disappearing!

This recipe created one of the moistest cakes that I have ever tasted.  The combination of the mashed banana and crushed pineapple added a lot of moisture.   It was the quickest cake that I have ever made and one of the best too!

My husband loved this cake for breakfast- very similar to a banana bread texture.  The quick process of mixing this cake and the  wonderful flavor will make it a family favorite. 

Thank you Bakers Royale!

For the recipe-

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Getting My Crafting Groove Going Again

Let's face it.  My last 18 months have been spent building and moving into a new home and planning my daughter's wedding.  I haven't had the space or the materials to do any craft projects during that time.  But that has all changed now! Not that I have not enjoyed the past months, but now  I can get back to my happy place. 

I wanted to create a special gift for someone that had done an extraordinary job during our daughter's wedding weekend.   We hired a local chef and his wife to cater the farewell party at our home.  We intended to have our son's be the bartenders, but somehow that didn't happen.  So Kate, the chef's assistant and wife stepped in quickly and bartended all afternoon for us.  Over and above what we contracted them to do!  

She is the mother of two and loves to spend any time off, making craft projects with them.  So I filled a box with craft supplies from Michaels and a gift card to make additional purchases.  But I wanted to make something special for her.

The craft room is not completely organized yet, as I am waiting for shelves to be installed to hold all the crafting supplies.  But at least everything is out and available for projects.

Ribbons, fabrics, beading, metal findings, rhinestones, laces are all organized into acrylic bins.

My girlfriend, Jill, came over one Sunday afternoon,
and organized three cabinets full of ribbon for me. 

 Ribbons are divided into color palettes and placed on shelves in the cabinets above the counter.

 Time to create my first project in the new house!

I purchased a rhinestone crown from Michaels in the bridal section. 

Creating the label on parchment paper on the computer, I glued it inside of a metal frame.

 The crown was finished with butterflies, bees and flowers.

All of the crafting supplies and the gift card were placed in the hat box for a crafting
project with the kids.

A vintage bird with it's own crown was glued to the top of the frame.

As a final touch, the crown was nestled into the ribbon on the top of the box. 

Thanks Kate- you are a Chef's Assistant Extraordinaire.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wedding Weekend Farewell Party

Wow- somehow it was a blur.  The wedding is over and now it is time to say good bye to all our wonderful guests that traveled to North Carolina to celebrate Tony and Julia's wedding.  

We planned a quiet Sunday afternoon brunch with the one of the best chef's in Asheville.  Chef Brian came to our home and prepared a decadent afternoon gourment spread.  Beef tenderloin with 4 different sauces, pork belly, panzanalla salad, peach fennel salad, cannolis and strawberry lemon tart.s were the stars of the enticing food. 

Flowers were brought home from the wedding and placed throughout the house.

This one was placed on top of my French Bistro shelf in the middle of the dining table. The table is now ready to be filled with salads and breads.

The front entry table

Small bouquets sit on sterling silver stumps from the wedding tables.

 The dining table is filled with wine crates to elevate platters of salads. 

Lump Maryland crab cakes sit front and center on a cut barn beam left over from our construction.

 Panzanella  Salad in a big copper tray.
 Peach and Fennel Salad

Sweets were placed in the gathering room for guests to enjoy. 

 Home Cannoli's with rich cream- wonderful.

A sweet ending to a sweet weekend-  wonderful memories forever.