Monday, July 27, 2015

Preserving Fresh Bread for Decor

I recently thought I'd get a few loaves of faux bread to put in my mini German "fresh bread" cart but was a little disappointed in what I saw available, and even more disappointed in that FAKE bread cost more than the real deal.  I see pretty bread in the market all the time and so I decided I'd just try and dry my own.


I was inspired to create my own centerpiece after coming across the simple beauty of these two images.   5 B's…Bread, Bag, Board and Baskets = Beauty.

To make your own dried bread, simply place your chosen bread on an oven rack with the oven set to between 175 and 200 degrees Farenheit.  Dry the bread for at least two hours.  I purchased pretzel sticks for two reasons…they were pretty (that's very important) and were the correct size ratio for the cart and bunny rabbit I am displaying them in.  

Since the pretzels are dense, I dried them for an additional two or three hours to be sure they were dried through.  They browned up a  bit but look good all the same.  Once out of the oven, I allowed them to cool on cooling racks overnight.  The appearance of dried bread is almost that of fresh, but of course it's going to be hard and probably somewhat brittle.

After making sure your bread is dried through you'll want to apply a protective coating so that no moisture can get back in…as in the moisture that will come from a few pesky nieces, nephews,  kids (and adults) mouth's when they inevitably attempt to take a bite, which I assure you, is going to happen at my house.  That's the real reason I use an ample coating of non yellowing,  clear protective finish because I just can't wait to 'see' how they think this bread tastes.  hehe

So, next you'll want to lay the dried bread onto a non stick surface like wax paper, etc and apply a coat of the sealant and allow it to dry.  Flip the bread over and coat the back side allowing it to dry.  Repeat the process 3 or 4 times so the loaves are fully coated.  Allow the coating to cure for a day or so.

Next, it's the fun part.  Well, almost…but this next step is fast that you get to the fun part in no time.

Grab a paper bag, any old paper bag will do.  I used a simple brown paper lunch bag.   

 I wadded the bag up in my hand like a piece of trash and then smoothed it out and rolled down the edges.  I put a few plastic bags as cushioning in the bottom of the bag and to give my bread loaves a little height.  

If you want a pop of color or a different look,  use a pretty checkered cloth, bandana, piece of lace or a French ticking stripe napkin to wrap your bread loaves or sticks in.  You could even tie a pretty piece of lace or ribbon around them.  

It's time to decorate with my Frische (well, it used to be anyway) Brotchen.   I realize I could probably use a few more loaves in my cart, but someone named Trevor Shawn Roberts ate some of them before I got a chance to dry them out!  I just hope that he takes a big ole bite now.

This is the fun part.  

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

No Meat? No Problem. The Perfect Vanity Tray!

I made the suggestion to Shawn that we might consider doing Meatless Monday every so often.  With a wry smile on his face, he agreed. 

 I knew as well as he did that if I made, say a big green salad absent of meat, that he'd ask where's the meat?  I know he knows that I know his idea of Meatless Monday really means Meat Less the vegetables Monday.   mmhh, hhh.  
That's my carnivorous husband.

But, if you can forego the meat and you like to re-purpose things in unexpected ways like I do, then I've come up with a perfect, and beautiful, match.

This stunning teal transferware Well & Tree Platter  needs nothing altered to convert it into an instant vanity tray or soap dish!  

As I admired this piece today while photographing it to list to my shop I thought that the well (which is where the juices from a roast or meat would pool in) would be a perfect spot to hold coins, rings, small bath items like q-tips or what-nots.  

In a guest bathroom, wouldn't it be gorgeous with a bar of soap in the well and the fancy, thick, disposable hand towels (or regular ones rolled up) laid at an angle on the platter?  Perhaps a small bud vase filled with a single rose would be nice on it as well?   I think it would be lovely.

I like this idea a lot.  The teal sure looks pretty paired with some of my purple transferware, but I'm holding out to find one that is purple. 

As I played around with this today I wondered what the original owner (back in 1830 or so) would have thought about me using it as a vanity tray!  

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Monday, July 20, 2015

No Bull, It's a Collection

It's no secret that I collect transferware, but
 I never considered that I might have a cow collection.  However, if the saying is true that "if you have 3 or more, it's a collection" then I suppose that indeed I do have a little cow collection, or well, bull collection.  Actually I guess I have both a cow and a bull collection.   Actually now that I think about it, if the rule of 3 is fact, then I have a lot of collections. Seriously. A lot of collections.  

I've shown you some of the cows in my kitchen before but today I decided to show the cows in my breakfast nook. I really like this little vignette across my kitchen table with the candlesticks and cute bread cart.  

In the photo above, you can see the wooden cow sign that hangs above and between the French doors.  It's fairly large, about 22".  I can't remember if this came from a butchers shop or what it was used for, but I just knew I liked it and had a perfect spot to display it.  It's a really nice antique piece that is carved dimensionally.

Several years ago I posted a tablescape with two matching bull planters which, at the time, were the only two that I had.  After publishing that post a few readers periodically asked about buying the planters.  After a time I gave in and sold one of the planters to one of those that had asked about it. 

I just recently came across another one of these Hereford Bull planters and decided to go ahead and buy it and put it in my shop in case anyone is looking for one.  Isn't he a cutie?  

When I was putting the centerpiece / display on the breakfast table and decided to put the bull planters there I went out to the front yard and clipped some sprigs off the bushes to add real greenery.  I've been surprised at how fresh it's stayed, for over a week now.   When I took the scissors out to cut the sprigs off the bushes  Shawn was like, "you're trimming the hedges with scissors"????  lol  

Earlier today as I was thinking about this post I thought that a grouping, um excuse me,  I mean a collection, of these little planters would be darling in a windowsill with fresh herbs growing in them.  Don't you agree?

Now, see the biggest bull on the table, to the right of the cart?  That's my newest addition and though it's not a planter it is a unique item.  It did come from a Butchers shop in England where these larger bulls were made as displays for the meat counters.  Pretty cool, huh?

And not to change the subject suddenly, but since I know some of you all who love transferware almost as much as I do, and who also follow my blog might notice some of the 'new' to my collection advertising transferware on the bookcase in the background.  I've come across some amazing pieces in recent months so I'll be sharing more about those soon…just in case you're wondering!

Hope you liked seeing some of my cattle collection!

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Friday, July 3, 2015

The American Flag

Happy Independence Day to you and yours!

When freedom, from her mountain height
     Unfurled her standard to the air,
She tore the azure robe of night,
     And set the stars of glory there!
She mingled with its gorgeous dyes
     The milky baldric of the skies,
And striped its pure, celestial white
    With streakings of the morning light.

The American Flag
 by Joseph Rodman Drake

I'm thankful to have been born an American! 
 God Bless the USA! 

Blue Transferware in Patriotic Color Schemes & Summer SALE

Last year I posted twice about rooms decorated in red, white and blue, plus transferware   HERE & HERE.  With 4th of July only a couple of days away I thought I'd share some additional rooms beautifully decorated and chock full of the patriotic color scheme.
And transferware.

There's something about blue and white china set against red toile…. 

…especially when the china is transferware.
If you ask me anyway-
 (photo Jennifer Jordan)
But then there's blue transferware and red checks…
 (photo Maple & Magnolia)

…and checks…

…and checks…

…and more checks…

(Carol Glasser)

…and even more checks…

(photo Holly Mathis Interiors)

…and more.
(photo Savvy Southern Style)

Wait, one more.

Blue transferware can be paired with plaids…

or with with red, white, and blue toile.

A touch of blue transferware looks fresh with white ironstone china.

Blue transferware is fun with polka dots,

and fresh with modern florals.

It is perfectly at home with stripes

If you have trouble deciding how to use blue transferware, or you love lots of patterns like I do, just mix blue transferware with all of the above. 
All at the same time. 

Blue transferware looks great with everything!

And right now you can get blue transferware (and every other transferware color) on sale because my Summer sale is going on now.  Sitewide, everything is 20% off in the store
 Use the code Summer at checkout.

Plus…all the jewelry is 75% off!!!
Use the code Jewelry at checkout!

Have a Happy 4th of July, everybody!!!

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