Tablescapes, Home Decor, Thrifting, Cooking

Thursday, December 23, 2010

December End Check List

The last of the presents have been purchased and almost all wrapped.


  The baking is done.



Christmas coloring out of Grammie’s “Special Vintage Coloring Book” Completed by Sammy.



Christmas decorating Downsized this year  ~~~~

and that’s OK! 






Simple Touches in the Bathroom



Now it’s time to be reminded once again…. 




The Real Reason for the Season


I would like to wish all of my friends, family and Blogging Buddies

A most Blessed Christmas.

Thanks for all the visits and may you enjoy the next peaceful week with those you love.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bronzed Reindeer set the Stage



When I first laid eyes on these beautiful reindeer my heart raced a little faster.  I just thought they were so pretty.  Really needing nothing in the Christmas department, they went home with me anyway.  A few months later I found them at market so could have purchased them wholesale.  Oh well…

Today my tablescape revolves around my original china which makes it forty years old.

Most people, it seems really don’t care for the pattern they picked out as a twenty year old bride.

Surprisingly I have always liked mine.



The pattern is called Warrington by Noritake

The green color has always remained fairly in vogue and I still love the detailed gold swirls.  I always thought Queen Elizabeth would approve.





  The Jingle bell napkin holders happened to be sitting close by from last weeks tablescape.

They seemed perfect hanging from an antler.

Santa can keep track of them that way.




Won’t you sit down to a December meal with me?  Shopping and wrapping can wait awhile.





















The little (old) cream pitcher, tiny vase and dinner bell were gifts this summer for our Ruby Anniversary.  Place mats were a Christmas gift from my Aunt several years ago.  Center candle holder was a Goodwill Find.  Bark candles were half price after Christmas at Target.  They look like the Pottery Barn candles.  Realistic greenery and berries are from my Silk inventory. ;)



My china had taken a back burner with all the FUN dishes I’ve been finding at thrift stores and TJ Maxx, but now with newly discovered layering and more accessorizing the table, I can see my cherished dishes can be fun again.



Join me please at Between Naps on the Porch for another fabulous

Tablescape Thursday!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Beloved Cookbook


Last week I shared a Christmas Tree Bread I have been making for years and years.  Some of you asked for the recipe I use for the sweet bread.  For more instructions and recipe for filling and icing, click HERE.



Ever since I was a young woman, just learning to make yeast bread, I have been referring time and time again to an old Farm Journal cookbook called Homemade Bread.  I have the 1969 First Edition and it shows!  It’s one of those cookbooks that has flour and grease and who knows what else splattered across many of the pages and it’s filled with divine recipes!


The cover is ripped in half and


 the pictures inside are quite dated 


But isn’t that what makes for a good cookbook?  I see a newer version is listed here on Amazon.

The recipe I use is a method called Coolrise Sweet Dough.  It’s perfect to use during the holidays when so many other things are going on.  You can start your bread but you don’t have to complete it to the finish on that very day.  This recipe allows you to bake the refrigerated dough at the time that suits your schedule.  It has a great, yeasty flavor and a fine and even texture with a golden brown crusts.  Plus if you fix this for a breakfast or brunch, your friends will smell fresh bread baking as they walk in the door since you can bake this the next morning.  What could be more inviting?


Coolrise Sweet Dough


5 to 6 c. all purpose flour

2 pkgs. active dry yeast

1/2 c. sugar

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. softened butter

1 1/2 c. hot tap water

2 eggs (at room temp)

salad oil

*  Combine 2 c. flour, undissolved yeast, sugar and salt in large bowl.  Stir well to blend.  Add softened butter.

*  Add hot tap water to ingredients in bowl all at once.

*  Beat with electric mixer at medium speed 2 minutes.  Scrape bowl occasionally.

*Add eggs and 1 c. more flour.  Beat with electric mixer at high speed 1 minute, or til thick and elastic.  Scrape bowl occasionally.

* Gradually stir in just enough of remaining flour with wooden spoon to make a soft dough that leaves the sides of bowl.  Turn onto floured board.  Round up into ball.

* Knead 5 to 10 minutes or til dough is smooth and elastic.  Cover with plastic wrap, then a towel.

*Let rest 20 minutes on board.  Punch down.

*Divide and shape as desired into 2 trees (or 2 1/2 dozen rolls).

*Place in greased pans or on a greased baking sheet

*Brush surface with oil.  Cover pans loosely with plastic wrap.

*Refrigerate 2 to 24 hours.  When ready to bake remove from refrigerator.  Uncover.

*Let stand 10 minutes while preheating oven.

*Puncture any surface bubbles just before baking.

*Bake in 375* oven 20 to 25 mins.  Bake on lower oven rack for best results.

*Brush with butter OR frost and decorate as desired.  DSCN2912_1329  


While we are in the kitchen, I would like to share a very easy way to put a centerpiece together using Mother Nature.  Your friends (like mine truly did) will be either asking or wondering:

Is it Faux or is it real?



The secret is to just a little of both.  Can you tell what is real and what is faux???


                                 This pomegranate is real














While this pomegranate is faux.  It may appear more shiny in the picture, but honestly my friend Susan, the designer could not tell.  She was asking me about it and actually picked up the fruits to see.




The clementines are real as are the pinecones, but all the evergreen is faux and berries are faux.  You want to know another little secret?  The addition of reindeer moss makes everything look fresh and simply gorgeous.  It has the texture and color that are so appealing in anything!  Varying sizes of pinecones and the cinnamon sticks add to the interest of this natural arrangement.  All the different colors used come together for such a pretty look.  Very Williamsburg, don’t you think??  The good news too is that I put this together in less than five minutes.  Everything is just lying in a big white bowl with no foam or glue.





Let me know if you make the Christmas Bread!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Tree Bread and for the Love of Dishes

DSCN2906_1323 Last year I found four of the Christmas tree plates by Johnson Brothers at TJ Maxx.  During multiple trips there and Marshalls I ran across seven of the mugs.  The dishes match my Old British Castles transferware and I’m really drawn to this look.  I found four more dinner plates at Marshalls last week plus another mug so I have eight!

My centerpiece was pretty simple but I enjoy looking through the glass at candlelight and a snowy, wintery scene.

Evergreens, a few more votives and a few little Christmas treasures are just nestled























Do you ever get your table about 3/4 set and wish that you had started off with a different table cloth or runner?  :(

That happened to me as I was setting this up.  I was in a huge hurry though as my friend Susan was having a special birthday.

I wanted to have a brunch for her in my home instead of a restaurant.  Sooo, the tablecloth I had remorse over was allowed to stay.  I would rather have chosen a creamy white tablecloth and a deep red runner.






I have a pretty Christmas bread I would like to share with you today as I join Designs by Gollum.

I have made this off and on for YEARS and I still love the presentation.  Depending on your favorite yeast sweet bread recipe you can get two or sometimes three trees out of one recipe.  Let me know if you need my sweet bread recipe.











After the first rise, you are ready to form the tree.  Roll or hand pat your dough to five inches on the top, 10- 12” up and down and about 15” on the very bottom.



Brush melted butter over the dough and add the filling being careful not to go clear to the edge.  That way the edges will hold when you pinch the form together.


1 cup sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

2 t. mace (the spice!)

2 t. cinnamon






Here I am showing how the dough is now folded together and pinched to close



Very carefully place the tree seam side down onto a greased cookie sheet.

Now with kitchen scissors cut inward on each side about 1 1/2” apart almost to the center.


DSCN2904_1321 DSCN2905_1322




Now starting with the first branches, fold a quarter turn downward so that the filling shows. 

Turn bottom branches down to form the trunk.

Follow your sweet bread instructions but this is where you will let it rise for the final time.

After it bakes (don’t overbake!) cool the bread and then you are ready to frost.



2 cups powdered sugar and about 2 T. ( I used more) half and half or heaving whipping cream and about 1 t. vanilla or almond flavoring.

Decorate with cherries that have been halved.  Years ago green cherries were available too, but I can’t find those anymore.

I sprinkled with some little Christmas tree candies I found at TJ Maxx ( of course!)










Place tree on a large silver tray or a piece of sturdy cardboard that has been wrapped in tin foil.  These are fun to give as gifts to friends or neighbors as well.



I am also joining Marty at A Stroll Thru Life today for her Cloche Party

















Cindy at My Romantic Home And Susan at Between Naps on the Porch



Believe it or not, I am now going to decorate my Christmas tree!

Could it really be December 9th?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Flowers…are they real or are they Faux?




  We are well into December and I just started to pull out my own Christmas decorations.  No pictures of my home quite yet.  I’ll save that for a later post!

A few days ago, I took this arrangement to a customer’s home.  It will be placed on her dresser of her GORGEOUS bedroom for Christmas and well into the winter she said.  (I wish I had a picture for you of her bedroom…oh my! Is it ever a room to envy!)

The nice thing about this arrangement is the colors work well with her dark khaki walls.  The white just sort of POPS as we in the decorator field like to say.  The glitzy bronze stems and the winter white berries will look perfect long after this customer’s Christmas tree comes down.






I took this little arrangement with a reindeer moss tree for Becky to try on her entry table.

Silk Thumb Christmas 2009 001




She loved it.  She and her young family are in a wonderful new home.

Decorating this new house will be an ongoing project for some time to come.

I just ran a soft, very real looking garland down the center of her table, plopped the arrangement down, tucked a few berries in and it was almost complete.

Oh! One more thing.  I suggested some mercury glass votives nestled in for some shine and Viola!  Her table is good for now.

There is a limey green scarf with beads for an added dimension I was glad I had brought along.






There were oodles and oodles of banisters for garland to enhance.  Red scarves at the bottom in the entrance were the finishing touches.




This is a shot looking up in her entry where we placed more garlands and a wreath.  Way up here were many more banisters to dress.


Sorry the picture is blurry, but double amaryllis worked well to frame the mantle.  There is a wreath with lights and a big red bow, but we needed someone to place a nail in the rock wall.

Another garland, some evergreen picks with eucalyptus leaves and many more berry clusters was all that was needed to turn her mantle into a holiday look.




Does anyone (except Martha) have a REAL arrangement such as this?

Not where I live…

My customers will get many miles out of a simple container of mixed greens, berries, pods and ornaments.

No shedding here!  An added perk!


Christmas 2005 003



Real or Faux?

I’ll let you take a guess.  ;)

Christmas Show 2007 004


For reasons unknown, silk flowers get a bad rap from some people.

There is definitely a place for them.

Real or Faux?

Who really cares with the quality available today!

Thanks for stopping by 47th Street.