July 20, 2017

A Bit of Vintage Shopping

Since we downsized I have tried to cut back on my shopping and collecting. Really. :-)  I just don't have the space I had when we were in the larger house. 

However...I did pick up a couple of pretty items from a local vintage shop, Arrow Vintage, over the summer. The shop is on Instagram if you want to take a peek. 

Look at this sweet ironstone pitcher I found from Arrow Vintage!  I am struck by the extra long graceful spout on this one. 

In addition to the pitcher, I snagged a couple of pretty Churchill plates a few weeks ago. I am not sure how I will use the two plates, but I am sure there are great possibilities. Being very modestly priced I had to say "sold" and bring them home. 

Perfect plates for cookies, brownies, or a fun vignette. 

And one more thing...

I have a few new linen tea towels, thanks to my parents. They were my birthday gifts this year! For some reason I have a weakness for pretty linen tea towels. 

This is an English tea towel, and will fit in nicely with my other English pieces. I will not use these to wipe down the kitchen counters! The fine linen is exqusite.

I will try for some better photos...and show you my other tea towels also. 

Low afternoon light in the dining room. 

So much pretty! And I had to share with you. :-)

One more ironstone pitcher for my collection...
I just could not help myself.

July 18, 2017

The Instant Pot Craze

photo credit, Sur La Table

If you have not heard, Instant Pot cooking is a very popular right now. 

The Instant Pot is billed as a multi-cooker because of its different cooking functions. Sauté/ Steam. Rice baker. Pressure cook. Slow cook, etc. 

photo credit, sur la table

Trends come and go with how we cook our food. And there are appliances for the many ways of cooking. Stoves/Cookers. Grills. Griddles. Smokers. Gas stoves. Steamers. Rotisseries. Fryers.Foreman type double sided grills,etc. ...you name it. 

I began married life with an avocado colored electric apartment range (when hubby and I were doing our post grad programs) and a few pans and casserole dishes. It worked just fine. 

My electric skillet looked similar to this. 

Then slowly my cooking expanded to include a few counter top appliances. We received an electric skillet as a wedding gift. 

Yes...Teflon griddle. That's what mine was. :-)

Then we bought a griddle for making pancakes.

As a new bride I remember purchasing a small pressure cooker and cooking some roasts in it. Then my pressure cooker was edged out by my first Crock Pot. 

The slow cooker / Crock Pot was the new trendy cooking appliance invention when I was a young married high school teacher. It was quite the invention for all of us working gals, and stay at home mothers.

Looks like my first crock pot. 

I could put together a crock of ingredients in the refrigerator the evening before (or the morning of) and turn it on low. When I came back from a day of teaching we would have dinner ready. I have upgraded a time or two since my original crockpot that did not have a removable crock. That was a pain to wash, for sure. 

I think this is my current crockpot.
 Nothing fancy...except the lid clamps are great!

I have fallen for a new trend... Instant Pot cooking. 

Both my daughter and new daughter-in-law have electric pressure cookers. They really love theirs. It lets them come home from work, throw ingredients into the pan, secure the lid...and have a tender, tasty mean in short order. 

photo credit, sur la table
                                   Instant Pot Ultra 6 qt 

I have been thinking about an Instant Pot since they love their new contraptions so much! ha ha. Even my son was telling me about how they use theirs. Well, I decided to put one on my wish list. 

steam seafood on "low" pressure 

Guess what showed up on my birthday? 

Yes, An Instant Pot Ultra. I wanted the Ultra, the newest version, after reading reviews and descriptions. My Ultra 6 quart can act as a slow cooker and steamer also. Hubby found mine at Sur La Table. 

There appears to be a cult following of these new electric multi cooker / pressure cookers. I have seen bloggers doing tutorials as well as new cookbooks just for these new electric pressure cookers.

These electric pressure cookers are not like your grandmother's large, scary, contraptions. I can remember seeing and hearing those things. They were like monsters. And I always feared there would be an explosion.

Fast forward to now, and the electric pressure cooker looks much safer. 

photo credit, sur la table

My Instant Pot lets me select low pressure for seafood or high pressure for thicker, heavier meats. And there is a sauté function for browning/crisping meats, etc. You put liquid in the bottom, secure the lid, then set the dial for the amount of pressure. There is also a manual function for when you don't want to use the presets.  

photo credit, sur la table

One thing I am looking forward to cooking is rice. Daughter says it is quick and easy. 

from the sur la table website is this info: 
preset options include: pressure cook, soup/broth, meat/stew, beans/chili, steam, slow cook, sauté, warm, rice, porridge, multigrain, cake, egg, sterilize, yogurt and ultra (manual)

Hubby also bought the Instant Pot cookbook, 
per our daughter's recommendation. :-)

There are several models available. 
It just depends on the features you want.

Here are a couple of links for extra reading if you want to know more.

Why do Cooks love the Instant Pot, 
article/review/video NY Times.

I Tried the Instant Pot, Here is what I think.

To be honest I feel like I will be "in class" learning the manual and testing a few foods to learn  how my new gadget works. 

I will report to you from time to time as I work through the learning curve on my new kitchen gadget. 

If you have one of these new type pressure cookers, would you share your experience in a comment below? I would love to hear what you cook in yours...and what model you own?

July 16, 2017

Start With a Tray!

It is soooo hot outside!

I thought I would show you some "blue and white" today to cool us down some. :-)

July 12, 2017

A Birthday Tablescape

 Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

July is a birthday month in our family!

That means cake and ice cream!
I scream. 
You scream. 
We all scream for ice cream.

July 11, 2017

An Early Easter Bunny Centerpiece

It may seem a little early for Easter bunnies...but this is the time of year that bloggers, crafters, and homemakers like to start getting ideas. 

July 10, 2017

Musings...about this and that

An affiliate link is included in this post. 

Source, Unknown to me.

Let's have coffee....and chat about this and that!
Oh how I wish we could all meet and do this. What fun it would be to meet everyone face to face!

July 6, 2017

A Beaching Tablescape

I am back at my desk! 
We have been busy, busy this last week...so I have not been writing. 
A family member was in the hospital and we were driving back and forth. 
Back home now and working on some projects. 
Here is my latest table setting. 
I shared the jar candle centerpiece on Instagram and it was very popular. 
You may want to make one for your porch! 😊

I am overdue going to the beach this year, but at this point I prefer to wait until September or October. I just don't tolerate the heat of July and August very well at the beach. 

June 30, 2017

Quick Patriotic Decorating Ideas

Long May They Wave!

With the 4th of July upon us I have a few ideas for you that you can put together in a snap. 

For this arrangement I began with a white planter/bowl, to which I added glass filler marbles. The marbles hold silk stems nicely. 

In this case the geraniums are actually geranium bushes that I just poke into the marbles. I have quite a few geranium bushes that I use for my patriotic and summer arrangements....see below. :-)

I added this blue and white Johnson Brothers plate for a touch of blue with my red and white, as well as to protect my tabletop from the rough bottom of the white planter.

Here is a peek at the marbles.

And here is a closer peek at my planter.

I have a planter in my kitchen...filled with geraniums. It only seems natural to add a few flags to be festive.

Talk about a last minute idea...this is one. I put a faux boxwood ball in my silver bowl. Then it occurred to me that I could poke a couple of flags into the ball. (It is hollow in the middle.) Ta da! 

This is my current coffee table vignette. 

My flags do not go well with my persimmon color pillows and throw, but that will be ok. It is the thought that counts. 

Hubby and I are shamelessly patriotic. He is an Army veteran, and we have a long list of ancestors on all sides who have fought in the various conflicts through out the history of our country...as well as those who fought to make us independent of British rule. What can I say? History. :-)

On to the next quick arrangement...

I began with an urn...put some marbles into it, then added two bushes of geraniums. Super simple!

I took this unpatriotic setting and transformed it into a quick festive patriotic place to "sit a spell" on the back porch.

I put a couple of buntings over the backs of the rocking chairs. Boom! Looks snazzy and patriotic. Just that simple. :-)

I added flags to the vase of geraniums, as well as a blue placemat for additional color.

And this idea grew out of my just experimenting. I have a large jar in which I keep a candle. I wanted to try putting a few flags in the jar. I poked the wood poles into the sand to hold them in place. 

You can see that I used flags of different sizes. Then I thought, can I place a few sprigs of floral grass in my jar too? One step led to another. I was worried that the jar was looking messy...so I decided to wrap it in wide burlap ribbon.

Ta Da! Another quick look for a porch table, picnic table, etc.

As long as you have flags...you can create a pretty display. 

I used a flower pot/urn for this display.

I used a small ironstone pitcher for this arrangement + one geranium bush + one small flag.

Here is a table setting that I posted a few days ago using items from Oriental Trading. I am a brand ambassador for them.  (Napkins, burlap charger, patriotic bunting, and Ball mason jars are available at Oriental Trading.) 

I made this sugar bowl arrangement last year...using epsom salts in the bowl to hold the flags in place. 

Until the next time...Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July.