A few thrifted treasures

IMG_8593

IMG_8594

IMG_8595

IMG_8596

IMG_8599

IMG_8601

Because I strive to live by the questions “Do I truly love this? Will it bring me joy?” when out shopping I tend to not buy a whole lot of stuff.

As of late there hasn’t been much that has caught my eye and I have walked out of several thrift stores in the last couple months empty handed, that is, until yesterday.

As far as I’m concerned I hit the jack pot because what I brought home, I absolutely love. Did I need any of it? No. Where any of these things on my “List”? No. But I do adore my new treasures and I did stick a few things in my Goodwill bag to cancel out what I brought in.

There is no guilt in my book if something I bring into my home brings me joy.

:: I actually squealed a little when I spotted a set of those vintage antler candle stick holders. We have quite a collection of antlers in all shapes and sizes around our house all of which were found in the woods by Chris and the girls. These will happily be added to the collection. I just may gift one to my sister for Christmas this year. Shhhhhh!

:: I fell in love with that green glass carafe with the brown leather strapping and stopper. It will look great on the bar with my beginning collection of antique wine bottle coasters.

:: That sweet little studio pottery vase spoke to me. It said “bring me home!” I love it’s shape, pattern and blue hues. It’s new home for now is the mantle.

:: About a year ago I found a shorter version of that same set of hooks where it hangs in the baking area of my kitchen. I love the rustic look of the wood and metal hardware and the hooks swing! This longer one now lives in my bathroom above the tub, perfect for washcloths.

A new storage space

IMG_8471

IMG_8474

IMG_8522

IMG_8532

IMG_8525

IMG_8527

IMG_8530

IMG_8529

I love the challenge of living in a small house. Rather than wishing we had more closets and storage we get creative and work at finding ways to utilize our space making life feel a little more efficient incorporating both the practical and beautiful.

Our most recent light bulb moment was the top of our basement steps.

My Pop and Chris had installed bead board in this area when we first moved in but it never got painted and quite honestly was left forgotten as the basement door hid this neglected space.
A few years ago (when our girls were safe from tumbling down the stairs) we removed the door to open things up which actually made the kitchen feel a bit bigger.

The door was left off but the space remained unpainted and under-utilized until recently when I became frustrated with my ever growing cast iron pan collection. We have accumulated an array of second hand pans in all shapes and sizes. They are the workhorses of our kitchen and are used daily. I love the versatility of cast iron, able to go from stove-top to oven. Our favorite pan is the extra large one used for big batches of granola and roasted vegetables. Chris found that pan for only 25 cents at a yard sale! Wishing that I had a space to hang my pans rather than stack them I realized that I did have a place!

Yes, the top of our basement steps would make the perfect pantry for pans but how about a place for hanging tools such as dust pans, brushes and a brooms. And while we are at it, let’s hang a few hooks for extra coats when we host company since our house came without a coat closet. Killing two or even three birds with one stone is how I like to roll in our home.

Once we envisioned our new space we got to work and started with painting the bead board and walls a crisp white. Chris hand forged hooks (made with recycled iron from an old hay rake) that would be sturdy enough to hold the heavy pans.
He also made a light fixture from Kentucky Coffee Tree wood and a ball jar.

I hung a wooden accordion hook on one side for dust pans, brushes and brooms and installed a few hooks on the other side for aprons, coats, spare cutting boards, etc.

A while back my mom had gifted me an antique drawing of a woman selling at market. I could never find quite the right place for her until now.

I love this new space displaying our tools that are both practical and beautiful.

I find that domestic work becomes a bit more enjoyable when your tools are pretty enough to display.

Rather than let them sit until the end of the day, I now eagerly wash up our pans after each use to hang them back on their hand forged hooks in their very own pantry.

Pickled Beet Hard Boiled Eggs

IMG_8276

IMG_8268

IMG_8270

IMG_8277

IMG_8291

IMG_8293

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and for those who celebrate, a joyous Easter.
We certainly did and will share through photos tomorrow.
For now I will share with you a favorite springtime treat~pickled beet hard boiled eggs.
It really is the perfect combination don’t you think?

Now that spring is here, our hens are laying daily which means lots of hard boiled eggs to be pickled.
I used fresh horseradish from our garden-the first harvest of the season!
The beautiful crimson beet juice soaks right through the egg white and yolk making for a show stopper plate of deviled eggs.
Enjoy!

Pickled Beet Hard Boiled Eggs

6 medium beets
1 medium white onion, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp. black peppercorns
1/4 tsp. whole cloves
2 tbsp. grated peeled fresh horseradish
3 tbsp. peeled sliced fresh ginger
3 cups cider vinegar
4 tbsp. sugar
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled

Trim stalks off the beets. Wash beets and put into a medium pot, cover with water, and boil until soft, 45–60 minutes. Drain, slip off skins, slice beets, and put into a large glass jar.
Add onions, peppercorns, cloves, ginger and horseradish.
Bring cider vinegar, 3 cups water, and sugar to a boil in a small pot, then pour into jar. Set aside to cool, cover, and refrigerate until chilled. Store in refrigerator up to 1 month. Add eggs to jar at least 4 hours and up to 5 days before serving.

Cyanotype eggs

IMG_8296

IMG_8297

IMG_8278

IMG_8283

IMG_8284

IMG_8286

IMG_8301

I have been sharing my egg dying adventures on instagram and thought it might be fun to share my process of making cyanotype eggs. Don’t worry though these prints are made with only natural ingredients!

I used a purple cabbage dye bath which makes the most perfect blue and gives a sun print effect on the egg.
I clipped leaves and flowers from my backyard and houseplants such as snowdrops, juniper leaf, oxalis, fern, begonia and ranunculus leaf.

You can use hard boiled eggs or dye raw ones to be blown out after they have dried.
It really is a simple process with a gorgeous result.

Cyanotype Eggs

~White hard boiled or raw eggs
~Nude pantyhose cut into small pieces (I may have just pocketed a few of those throw away peds at the shoe store. Shhhh… but they do work perfectly!)
~Leaf and flower cuttings from your backyard or houseplants
~1 whole purple cabbage
~White vinegar
~Pint size ball jars

In a large pot, mix 2 quarts of water and 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar. Add 1 head of chopped purple cabbage. Bring water to a boil and simmer for 1-2 hours.
Turn off heat and let cool. While cooling, position leaf/flower cutting on egg and hold in place by encasing the whole egg with pantyhose. Tie tightly in a knot or secure with a rubber band or twist tie.

Fill individual ball jars with dye bath and place each egg into it’s own cup. You could also submerge all of your eggs at once into the large pot of dye. Let sit overnight or for several hours to get a deep blue. The longer it sits the deeper the hue. Keep checking to get your desired shade.

Pull egg from dye bath and place on paper towel or rag to drain a bit. Allowing it to dry as long as possible makes for a crisper silhouette.
Remove pantyhose and allow it to dry some more.
Gently peel off leaf and voila!

Fish fry

IMG_8219

IMG_8221

IMG_8224

IMG_8243

IMG_8251

It was our turn this week to host dinner with Izzy.
It’s always fun to share some of our favorite recipes with the ones we love, so we smoked up the house with a fish fry.

There was breaded fish made with coarse cornmeal served with garlicky roasted potatoes and sauteed swiss chard and kale. In the middle of the table there were dishes of tartar and cocktail sauce and slices of lemon.

No one seemed to mind the smoky fog as we delighted in the fact that we are now eating dinner without having to turn on a single light!

Chris’s Fish Fry

4 fillets of atalantic cod, talapia or sea bass
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 1/2 cup coarse cornmeal
Olive oil or coconut oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Rinse fillets.
In a large cast iron pan heat 1/2 inch of olive or coconut oil at medium to high heat.
Coat fillet in flour on both sides.
Dip floured fillet in egg wash, coat entirely.
Coat fillet heavily in cornmeal.

Fry in oil on both sides until cornmeal turns golden brown. About 3 minutes on each side.
Drain on a paper towel.

Spring vignettes

IMG_8195

IMG_8194

IMG_8189

IMG_8196

IMG_8199

 

IMG_8204

IMG_8205

IMG_8206

IMG_8211

IMG_8214

IMG_8216

IMG_8217

With spring just around the corner I have begun to tuck little reminders of what’s to come into the vignettes around my home. Nests, blown out dyed eggs, glass rabbits from my childhood and tiny birds have all come out from hiding.

As each new season approaches I pull out the many cards that I have saved throughout the years that correlate. I have quite a collection for each season and holiday and like to scatter them about on my wire card wreath, tucked into mirrors and showcased on the wooden card stands made by Chris.

Branches found on walks and clipped from my yard have been submerged into vases of water and are just beginning to bud out. (Read more about how to here).

It is still a bit chilly here but the light is changing and I have found several things peeking up in my garden.

I may still be wearing my wool coat every day but these little vignettes inside my home encourage me that soon it will be Spring!

Local friends, I will be teaching my Creating Space for Beauty and Simplicity Series at Harvey Oak Mercantile this year. This month I focus on the home and creating vignettes and incorporating the seasons into your decor.

A few new inventions

IMG_8168

IMG_8171

IMG_8174

IMG_8177
Chris and I make a good team. He likes practical and I like beautiful. Lucky for me everything he makes is beautiful!
I enjoy my home when it is neat and orderly which means I like things put away (or hidden away according to Chris).
I am always switching things up around the house which means where things live sometimes changes.
He is always asking me “So where did you hide it now?” about many of his belongings.

His slippers are one of those things. I may put them in his closet, or by his bedside. Sometimes they make their way by the back door on the shoe rack. Or placed in a basket with all of the other slippers.
I knew he was trying to make a point when he came home last week with his newest invention- Slipper Hooks.
As much as I like things put away out of sight, I had to admit I loved his idea.
He came home the next day with a hook to hang above for his pajamas. And there you have it a new “practical” place for his things with no excuse for me to hide them away.

And while we are on the subject of inventions, check out our affordable version of a new recliner for Chris. To back up a bit, we had been searching for a leather recliner similar to this one for a while. Since they were hard to come by in our price range we settled for an Ikea POANG chair. It was the right size and is actually pretty comfortable. Since the matching ottoman was too bulky for the space Chris decided to make a custom one that slants down at just the right angle that he prefers. Not only is the whole combination beautiful but it is surprisingly ergonomic!

Wednesday night dinner

IMG_8156

IMG_8157

IMG_8160

IMG_8163

IMG_8166

The girls have each taken on a night to make dinner. Hannah cooks on Wednesdays and Norah on Thursdays.
This week Hannah made chicken, veggie stir fry.
As she chopped and prepared, I made ginger snaps for Craft Circle that evening.
I love working together with my family in the kitchen, especially when the back door can be wide open.
Hello Spring!