Monday, April 14, 2014

The Turban



My kids are cringing but I am having a serious moment with turbans. Last week I was able to get a sneak peek and the chance to purchase this one from the May line at work. I didn't hesitate. Since this printed one doesn't go with everything I own, I found myself fashioning others from silk scarves and bandanas all weekend long. 
Sorry kids.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sunday Suppers








I don't know about you, but I love Sunday dinner. It's the perfect day to have a long, lingering meal. And if it occurs in the middle of the afternoon then all the better. This past Sunday we threw two roaster chickens on the smoker early in the morning, I made homemade mac and cheese, grilled some asparagus, and made a big batch of sangria.  My brother and his family arrived around 1:30 with a delicious garden salad and we sat down around 2 to share that midday meal.
Afterward, we played yard games and lounged in the sunshine. By 5 pm my brother and his family were on their way home and we all snuggled up on the couch to watch some tv, relax and mentally prepare ourselves for the start of a new week.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Homemade Pizza


I love pizza. I think I could eat it almost every day and never tire of it. Growing up outside Manhattan has also made us privy to some of the best pizza in the continental United States. Relatives that have spread out to other areas of the country find it mandatory to have a slice, or two, or three whenever they find themselves back East. It's really that good.
Unfortunately, we find the pizza joints around here to be totally inconsistent. One time you will order a pie that knocks your socks off, next time it may be awful. Just when we think we found a new place to order from we wind up sorely disappointed a few orders in.
A few weeks ago we arrived home from work exhausted and hungry and placed an order with a local pizzeria we'd been frequenting for some time. I flipped open the box, stomach growling with anticipation and peered down at a charred circle that looked vaguely like a pizza and was so thin it could barely hold the sauce and cheese that was on top. It tasted as unappetizing as it looked and I was annoyed. You get more consistency from the drive thru window at McDonald's or Taco Bell than these pizza joints around here.
I was resolved to start making my own and two weeks ago I began to do just that. It's quick, it's easy and I can turn out two pies for less than the cost of a single crappy take out one. In fact I announced that first night that it was the best pizza I had had in the past year and I wasn't bragging. I was just stating the truth.

Homemade Cheese Pizza
I have been buying local refrigerated pizza dough from the grocery store as a short cut but I also keep the packets of instant pizza dough yeast on hand. The packets cost pennies, they just take a few extra steps to prepare.
1 ball of pizza dough
1 cup of homemade or prepared pizza sauce
2 cups of shredded mozzarella (or other Italian blend)
This ratio is critical because too much sauce is no good and too little sauce is no good either.

Roll out pizza dough on a pizza stone or other round baking pan. 
Spread pizza sauce on top
 I use the backside of a spoon to spread the sauce around the rolled out dough
Top with shredded cheese
Bake in a 375 degree oven until cheese is melted and dough has firm, lightly browned edges. Takes about 12-15 minutes

*note: Use your imagination! The sky is the limit with toppings. I love a Hawaiian pie so on Friday nights I will chop up any leftover deli ham from the week's lunches to minimize food waste

Friday, April 4, 2014

South of the Mason-Dixon









Last Saturday morning I jumped in the car and headed south of the Mason-Dixon line for the weekend. My heart longs for the South these days and a quick trip to Virginia helped the ache just a little.
It was a wonderful time with my niece, nephew, mama and sister. Even at the ripe old age of 40 there is comfort in knowing your mama is sleeping right next to you.
Sunday we celebrated my beautiful cousin and her baby to be. I will never turn down the chance to be with the world's greatest aunt - I love that lady like there's no tomorrow. 
Time flew by so fast and before I knew it I was back in the car heading home where my children looked more grown up than ever. Funny how that happens....
Luckily I get to do this again in a couple short weeks but I find myself wishing I was heading back tomorrow....

Sunday, March 23, 2014

When You See It




The first step to overcoming addiction is to recognize and admit it, right?
Well then, here we go:
"Hi, my name is Eleanor and I'm addicted to chairs."
It all started back in the fall when I found caned wing back chairs for a mere $30 for the pair. They are perfect in my living room but displaced a gorgeous pair of wooden chairs I inherited from my grandparents. This was fine by me because my grandparent's chairs are very dainty and I always cringed a little when someone sat in them for fear that they could easily break. I moved them to our home office where they looked a mere "meh" but in the moment I was ok with it. 
About two months ago I stumbled upon the black leather chair with a sleek, low profile and casters on the front legs. Casters! It was too fabulous to pass up at only $25 and I knew it would look sleek in the office with my pony hair ottoman/cube as a side table. Black leather alongside my vintage camera and globe collection? Perfection if you ask me.
But you know what this means.
Once again, my grandparents chairs were displaced. They look great with my dining table and are perfectly suited to be used with it, but I don't have a spare inch of space to keep them in there. I already have 6 chairs that match my table in that room and while the table can actually seat 10 very comfortably when expanded, I don't leave it that way all the time. Since these chairs have emotional value as well as sentimental to me they are currently sitting askew in the dining room until I figure this all out. 
Last weekend my son and I were back at ReStore and I gasped aloud when I saw this EMERALD GREEN LEATHER WING BACK WITH BRASS NAIL HEADS. I mean, really...have you EVER seen anything more beautiful in your life?
I sat in it, I touched it, I stood back from it and shook my head with disbelief that such an amazing piece of furniture could exist. I Instagrammed a picture of it to ask my friends across the globe what I should do. Naturally there was an overwhelming response to buy it. Even more confused, I paced the room as I tried to sort out in my head what I could do with it. The answer didn't come but I knew for sure that I could never walk away from a chair as fine as this. The ladies who volunteer at ReStore and know me quite well by now walked past one by one commenting about how this chair was so "me". It was so me. I must have it.
 I asked my son to help me examine it quickly to ensure it was intact and stable and we discovered one of the back legs was cracked straight through the wood. I was devastated. How do you even fix that without replacing the whole leg? 
So I walked away. ( Yes, you read that correctly.)
But fate is a fickle character and yesterday while on my usual Saturday visit to ReStore I spied it still sitting there. And now it was half price breaking the bank at a whole $30. It is currently in my garage as I type, flipped upside down with the leg glued and clamped. Where is this chair going you ask? I don't quite know. But I do know this: in the game of thrifting, you've gotta buy it when you see it because you might never see something quite like it again.

p.s. If our leg repair doesn't work, I already found a professional furniture maker who offered to fix it for me. He lives in Maine but that's just a minor detail. ;)
p.p.s. I really wish I had a library painted black like my dear friend Sarah because my oh my wouldn't an emerald green wing back look stunning in a room like that?
p.p.p.s. On the up side, at least there is no shortage of seating in this house.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Bar Cart Lessons






When Target released their bar cart last year I was instantly in love. The muted brass color and wood combination was perfection. It made the bright brassy ones you stumble across every now and again at a thrift store seem crazy and garish. However, the $129.99 price tag seemed a little steep to me. I held off and kept scouring the thrift stores for a less expensive version.
When I found this antique fold over table I was thrilled. It was perfect for my space and less than half the price! I moved it in and all seemed well with the world. Then one day the art work hanging over it didn't seem right anymore. I sold it on Craig's List, did a little DIY and started a little gallery of thrifted art I had fallen in love with. All was well again until one morning a few weeks later when I decided my silver star burst mirror didn't seem right with all the rich wood tones in the room. I started searching for a replacement. As time went on I began to feel more and more unhappy with the room again. 
Last weekend I stood in front of my antique table staring it down. It needs to be refinished desperately ~ but in what color? It feels heavy and bulky. Maybe it's just not the right piece for the space after all. Since buying it I had become unsatisfied with all of these other things I own. All this changing and moving things around was becoming tiresome and possibly expensive. My mind went back to that darn Target bar cart. Should I just buy the thing and end this unrest?
Then something dawned on me. I had picked up a pair of sale boots and two tops that I had decided I didn't want or need. As I returned them I realized that those 3 "great deals" I had gotten added up to the cost of the bar cart. I mean, really....
You can bet your bottom dollar that I scooted right over to Target after doing my returns and picked up the bar cart and a $7.00 clearance lamp shade for a vintage wooden lamp I had found. I ended up moving all my furniture back into place as it was before adding the antique table and put the bar cart in the spot I had originally imagined it would go. Perfection. And guess what? My star burst mirror looks right again as does everything else I already owned. The only thing I need to do is to recover my two wing back chairs and I'm thinking a navy and white ikat print might be just the ticket.
So thank you Target bar cart for teaching me two lessons:
1. Sometimes I think I'm saving money then realize I spent the same on little crap and
2. For making me also realize that I should just hold out/save up for the things I really desire because I will never be satisfied until I have the real thing.
On another note, Target gave me a 10% discount since it was the floor model and then I used my RedCard for another 5% off. Total win.
Now what to do about that gorgeous gold flatware they just got in.....

p.s. Don't worry about that antique table. It might find new life housing the sewing and embroidery machine I got for Christmas.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Shopkeep






I spent all day Sunday styling Spring table settings with these gorgeous vintage dishes I found for the shop. The more I mix and matched them with some of my own dinnerware, flatware and linens the more they started to pull on my heartstrings, making them harder to part with. I had quite the silent debate with my inner hoarder. In the end, they all went up in the shop. Even the set of red and green floral Charm House dishes which seem to be an extremely rare find. Starting to talk myself back into keeping them now....

I've been thinking a lot lately about which way to continue moving forward with the shop. I began asking myself questions like: What am I most passionate about? What am I most excited to find and bring to the shop? How can I keep a well edited collection of wares? How can I keep this merchandise from spilling over into my home and creating a mess? Truth be told, that inner hoarder of mine may rear her head every now and again but she is inevitably squashed by the very powerful streak of organizational OCD that runs through my veins. 

After all this self reflecting I had to admit that my heart is always in the kitchen. It's the center of my home and chances are it's the same way in your house too. I adore all things related to cooking and dining. From old cookbooks to vintage cookware and kitchen tools, these are the things that keep me hungry for more. One thing led to another and I redesigned my shop logo, edited the existing merchandise and began to list some newly found items for sale. I hope you'll stop by and check it out. (Link in sidebar)

There's a ton of stuff on clearance in the Sale section right now - some really great deals!
I will be updating the shop all week with new arrivals so make sure you check back.