Dinner With A Mermaid – Beach Tablescape

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Beach Tablescape for Coastal Decorating Style

How to have dinner with a Mermaid

Coastal Tablescape by Feathered Cottage

Coastal Tablescape by Feathered Cottage

Here’s my suggestion for a Mermaid themed dinner – acquire the beautiful painting, “The Mermaid” by Rob Hartshorn, hang it in a prominent location your dining room, create a lovely ocean inspired tablescape, and then invite 5 or so of your best friends over for an evening of food, fun, and dreams of the sea.

Every year I decide to participate in one fun, creative, local design event to support our Cleveland design scene. Two years ago I created a serene Zen tablescape (won an award – yeah,) last year I dressed a mannequin featuring my Belgian linen, porcelain flowers, and white feathers for “Project Runway” at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and this year I was invited to participate in The American Society of Interior Designers, Ohio North Chapter – Art, Wine, and Design show. Anything with the word “wine” in the name must be fun, right? I’m in!
The concept for the show was collaboration – combine a local artist’s work from the 78th Street Studios in Cleveland with an interior designer to create an art inspired design vignette. The participating designers were to select an artist’s work and create a space based on that art piece. Being the beach addicted girl that I am – I found inspiration in a painting by Rob Hartshorn named “Erie Storm.”

Painting Erie Storm by Hartshorn

Erie Storm by Hartshorn

Living on Lake Erie I thought the dark moodiness of “Erie Storm” fit the local lake vibe and I could immediately “see” the whole room by just looking at the painting.
That’s how design often works for me – I can see an item, then I have a little spark in my mind and voila – I can visualize a whole room– from just one inspiration piece.
While researching Rob’s art I toured his main Tremont art studio where I discovered what I think is a visually stunning piece, “The Mermaid.” I instantly knew she would be just right for my beach inspired vision. It is a large format painting so the placement would have to be just right to properly display her in my narrow 8×16 space – but I just had to use her, and kindly, Rob agreed!

I wanted my space to be dark and stormy…atmospheric… yet inviting. In a dark space we are drawn to a point of light so lighting the vignette and the painting would be critical.
With the sea and beach as my design theme, I set off with my wonderful design girlfriend, Lisa, to collect driftwood from Lake Erie for the chandelier above the table. We found some great pieces at a local beach, loaded up my little car, and I headed back to the studio. Driftwood was laid out and screwed together, I added lots of crystals for contrast against the driftwood, three chunky rope lights and viola – I had a show stopping chandelier.

Driftwood Chandelier by Feathered Cottage

Driftwood Chandelier by Feathered Cottage

Feathered Cottage - Kohree String Lights

Feathered Cottage – Kohree String Lights

Really, the chandelier and “The Mermaid” painting stopped people as they walked by and then magically drew them into the space. Lighting is key. To complete the lighting component of the design I ordered a set of multiple strand lights that are suspend down off a main wire for around $30. Great effect for not a lot of money. Shimmering sheers were layered over the lights to create an element of sparkle and mystery.

Coastal Tablescape by Feathered Cottage

Coastal Tablescape by Feathered Cottage

I knew that combining my beautiful white Feathered Cottage ceramic tableware by Montes Doggett with the earthiness of my Libeco Belgian linens would create the perfect table setting for a casual beach inspired tablescape.

Coastal Tablescape by Feathered Cottage

Feathered Cottage Coastal Tablescape – Montes Doggett

Coastal Tablescape by Feathered Cottage

Feathered Cottage Tablescape

I did need a great table to anchor the space. Something earthy and rustic. Dan Quinn with Kiowa to the rescue.

Feathered Cottage - Dan Quinn Table

Reclaimed Barn Beam Table by Dan Quinn

Dan made a custom trestle table just for the Art, Wine & Design show – what a super, nice and talented person! Dan’s business is reclaiming old barn beams locally and then in his downtown workshop he re-purposes his rustic wood into wonderful new furniture. I LOVE THIS! In Ohio we lose a barn a day, Dan helps our historic barns live on in a new and beautiful way.

Feathered Cottage - Kiowa Reclaimed Barnwood

Feathered Cottage – Kiowa reclaimed barn wood

To give the space a modern vibe I purchased clear poly-carbonate chairs from Zuo Modern. I love these chairs. The Anime chairs are clear so they visually open up a space. I think they look simply fantastic with everything. While they are not the classic “Ghost Chairs,” they are very similar and work perfectly. I love the Ghost Chair style so much I have a whole Pinterest board devoted to Ghost Chairs.

Anime Chair by Zuo Modern

Anime Chair by Zuo Modern

Feathered Cottage - Coastal Theme - Urban Floors

Feathered Cottage – Coastal Theme – Urban Floors

The concrete floor in the open gallery just wouldn’t work for my theme – I needed a wood floor with a casual beach vibe to warm up the vignette. The Cleveland Series from Urban Floors provided a great base layer for the casual theme with its slightly distress feel and light sand colored tone. The pieces went together easily and the feel was just right. It took two people about 1-1/2 hours to lay the floor – a big thanks to my sister for all her help!
My next challenge was finding fabric to cover the sidewalls and a sheer for back wall. I wanted a blue fabric to pull in the water feel. I needed 40+ yards of a blue drape fabric and 30+ yards of a sheer fabric. After much fretting and searching I found the fabric in a vendor’s clearance site. Score! It was quite an investment to purchase 70 yards of fabric for a 4 hour display – call me crazy – my husband does all the time!
We employed a suspended cable system to mount the drapes. I made tie backs with 1” rope – super fun detail I think. The ceiling was draped with black tulle for effect. Love, love, love!

Feathered Cottage Table by Arhaus

Feathered Cottage Table by Arhaus

Of all the weird last minute hang ups – and there is always something in a project that doesn’t come together easily – I struggled with finding a console table that I liked. It needed to be slightly rustic, natural, long and narrow, and just the right height for the paining “Erie Storm” to hover above. In a last minute panic I purchased two urns and a marble slab for the top; I just couldn’t settle in with the look though. You know the feeling – you buy something because it is crunch time and you need it but you just don’t love it – I hate that! Yes, it happens to professionals too.
Two days before the show I found a clearance teak table at Arhaus Furniture. I called and pleaded with them to let me have the piece with a rush delivery and Arhaus agreed. Thank you Arhaus!!! The 7:00 am delivery was perfect. They walked the boxed table down the drive way to my car and I drove off to set up.
Assembling the vignette took two days with help from my Sister, my friend Lisa, and my patient and kind husband, Steve. We had about 1,500 people visit the 10 art themed spaces. Food, drink, art, and design – what fun!

Feathered Cottage Coastal Tablescape

Feathered Cottage Coastal Tablescape

“The Mermaid” was glowing from a spray of light cast by an adjacent floor lamp from RW Shea. She looked stunning. While I was taking a long exposure photo of “The Mermaid” the painter Rob walked into the frame. Cool effect – Rob shows as a shadow with his art.
“The Mermaid” has another admirer in town. One visitor came to see her at the show concered because “The Mermaid” was missing from her usual spot at Rob’s Tremont gallery space. Photos cannot do the work justice – Rob’s art is truly beautiful and

-I would love to have “The Mermaid” hanging in my dining room, joining me every day for dinner – now that would be magical!

Feathered Cottage Coastal Tablescape

Feathered Cottage Coastal Tablescape – Sandy & Lisa

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Vintage Grain Sack

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Vintage Grains Sack

Vintage Grain Sack – perfect fit for a casual decorating style

For the last few years I have seen vintage grains sacks used in home decorating and I really haven’t been too excited about the subject … until recently.  While at High Point Market in April I discovered some great vintage fabric pieces at the booth of a fabric collector (she reminded me of my Grandmother) and now I’m intrigued with the history and the great design possibilities using this antique material.

Vintage Grain Sack Fabric - blue stripe

Vintage Grain Sack Fabric – blue stripe

The neutral colored field combined with all the wonderful accent stripes easily takes grain sack fabric from upholstery, to pillows, to stair runners; embracing a durable, hardworking, natural vibe and the rich texture of this vintage, home crafted fabric. I think causal, coastal style.  I think natural, neutral palette. Grain sacks were made in hemp or linen – two of my all time favorite fabrics.

Vintage Grain Sack Fabric with blue stripe

Vintage Grain Sack Fabric – Blue Stripe

I had arrived at Market early to shop for new Belgian linen and instead I happened upon this great vendor with an extensive collection of vintage hemp grain sack fabric and bags. Eureka! Like the proverbial “kid in a candy store,” I spent the next several hours with a design buddy combing her inventory and selecting my favorites. She had so much to see and it was really difficult to pick my favorites. What a stack of treasures I have for the studio! Lucky me! Some of the grain sacks are perfect for making those super long bolster style pillows, while others pieces will be just right for creating a new throw pillow collection with the causal, coastal feel that I love so much. I also picked up a few of interesting smaller pieces that I knew would be perfect sewn into cute grain sack aprons.

Vintage Grain Sack Fabrics

Stack of Vintage Grain Sack Fabrics

A bit about grain sacks

 

These earthy, primitive grain sack pieces were made in Eastern Europe in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. Savvy antique dealers are searching European farms today for these vintage fabrics for resale.  Around the turn of the last century farmers grew hemp and linen on their family farms, they retted the plants in the fields to remove the tough outer covering on the stalks, and then they hand wove the hemp and flax fibers into grain sacks. Wheat and other grains were taken to market for milling in these super durable bags. Each farm wove the bags with a special pattern signifying their farm, this helped ensure that the grain bags would be returned to the correct owner once the grains were milled.

 

Vintage Grain Sack Fabric with Monogram

Vintage Grain Sack Fabric with Monogram

I love the rustic quality of grain sack fabrics! Each piece is so unique. The background fabric colors typically range from a bleached white, to warm cream, to wonderful greys, with the occasional find of a warm, flax brown field (all colors I love.) The patterns are typically a stripe in one or two colors with shades of blue, red, gold, or green. The weaves range from dense to medium and vary from a soft to a coarser texture.

Stair Runner in Grain Sack Fabric

Grain Sack Fabric as a stair runner

The width of goods range from 17”-23”. Rolls of vintage yardage are available and would be excellent for making a durable stair runner or a lovely table runner.

 

Napkin in Grain Sack Fabric

Vintage Grain Sack Napkin

 

What to look for
I especially like the finely hand stitched seams on the sacks. Really, the stitching is so fine and amazing! While working with the bags I strive to keep the hand stitched seams intact and avoid adding button holes – I’m trying to maintain the original integrity of the fabric. I think that the hand crafting is a huge part of the grain sack charm and legacy.

Vintage Grain Sack Pillows

Vintage Grain Sack Pillows

As these pieces are vintage and were once used on working farms, there will be wear; that’s all part of the story and the patina. I have tried to select pieces in the best condition for my studio work. I have seen some patches in photos – they do add a certain charm. When selecting grain sack inspect with care so you are fully aware of the condition of each piece.

Feathered-Cottage-Europe2You-Grainsack

Vintage Grain Sack Germany

Vintage Grain Sack Germany

German grain sacks often have the name of the family farm and the date stenciled or monogrammed on the pieces.  These original German sacks are rare and so a bit harder to find.

Favorite Uses

Vintage grain sacks can be made into … anything! The one thing to remember is that you will be working with a narrow piece (17″-23″ wide) so you will have to select and plan accordingly. Vintage grain sack fabric can be sewn together in strips to achieve the wide width needed for a blanket or coverlet.

Vintage Grain Sack - Duvet Cover

Vintage Grain Sack – Duvet Cover

The wider pieces are darling used in upholstery.

Vintage Grain Sack in Upholstery - My French Country Home

Vintage Grain Sack in Upholstery – My French Country Home

Vintage Grain Sack in Upholstery

Vintage Grain Sack in Upholstery

Vintage Grain Sack Bag

Vintage Grain Sack Bag

Dream it and create it. I especially love grain sacks made into a purse or tote bag. Oh, and the extra-large bolster style pillow – so cute on a bed, swing, or sofa.

Vintage Grain Sack Bolster Pillow

Vintage Grain Sack Bolster Pillow

Just a few ideas – Pillows, Bedding, Bags, Upholstery, Stair Runner, Table Runner, Apron, & Lamp Shade.
Check the Vintage section of Feathered Cottage to see our current inventory.  See our Vintage Grain Sack Apron in Blue #1 below.

Vintage Grain Sack Apron - Blue Stripe

Feathered Cottage Vintage Grain Sack Apron – Blue Stripe

Thanks for stopping by and I would love to hear your ideas and stories.

Photos from Pinterest, Etsy & Feathered Cottage.

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Simple Cut Flowers

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Great floral displays with simple cut flowers

Using simple cut flowers displayed in lovely glass containers is my favorite way to decorate with  fresh spring and summer flowers from the garden. Be it a large statement jar with a striking single stem or a small collection of complimentary bottles, jars, or vases – using pretty glass containers adds sparkle, opens up a space, and feels so natural.

Glass bottle collection wtih simple cut flowers

Glass bottle collection with simple cut flowers

Large jar vase with flowers

Large jar vase with flowers

The super large bottle jar stands on its own. Go big! I mean really big! Add a single stem or branch and voila – you have a wonderful Zen like arrangement.

Large jar vase with single stem

Large jar vase with single stem

Mixing glass container sizes is a fun way to play with scale and color when creating a display.  Combine complimentary shades of clear or colored glass and vary the size and shape of the containers for an eye catching effect.  I always keep an eye open at antique shows and flea markets for unusual bottles to add to my collection.

Collection of glass vases make a beautiful display

Collection of glass vases make a beautiful display

Glass vase with magnolia branch

Glass vase with magnolia branch

Less is more – my guiding principle. Provide enough “room” to be able to see the containers and to see the flowers. Let the display breathe a bit.

Collection of green glass bottles with branches

Collection of green glass bottles with branches

Small glass bottles for flower vases

Small glass bottles for flower vases

Simple green glass containers with flowers

Simple green glass containers with flowers

Small glass bottles with lavender

Small glass bottles with lavender

Position the containers in a way that allows for the play of light. Let the light pass through the glass and be reflected by the water – it makes the arrangement sparkle and look stunning.

Bottles with fresh flowers

Bottles with fresh flowers

I especially like the simple floral display below showing a collection of clear bottles grouped together on a mirrored tray. These bottles are illuminated from behind with charming tea lights and topped off with simple arrangement of flowers. Ah… a thing of beauty.

Bottle collection with mirror tray and votive candles

Bottle collection with mirror tray and votive candles

Light bulb flower vases

Light bulb flower vases

Unexpected and lovely – these recycled glass light bulbs are used as flower vases suspended from branches in a tree. What a great idea for a summer party!

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Italian Easter Meat Pies – Classic Shadone

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Italian Shadones are a traditional Easter staple in my family today.  Meet the little known Shadone – a delicious mixture of Italian meats and cheeses nestled inside a golden, flaky pastry crust – to die for! Such a treat!

Italian Meat Pies

Italian meat pies freshly baked

The exact version varies from family to family.  Sometime regarded as a super, secret recipe, these treasures are shared with family and friends around the Easter holiday table alongside a wonderful sweet ricotta cheese pie, and an orange flavored sweet dough bread shaped like an Easter basket. My ex-Mother-In-Law ties a $5 dollar bill to the bread basket for the kids. The stuff of memories.

I didn’t grow up in a family that had many holiday food traditions (except for Mom’s Christmas 5 min. can’t fail fudge – which kind of says it all – hugs Mom) so as an avid cook with children I have come to appreciate the many ways that food can connect us together and add meaning to our lives.

The following recipe is from my 90 year old amazing ex-Mother-In-Law, Betty.  Over the years I have come to call my cooking lessons – “Baking with Betty” and they are wonderful times that we have spent together with a dash of this, a pinch of that and instructions to mix it until it “squeaks.”   Sharing with you today – Betty B’s recipe for Italian Shadone Meat Pies along with lots of photos of the baking process. Warning – it makes a big batch. Enjoy!

SHADONE RECIPE
Filling
1Lb. Soppressata
1Lb. Pepperoni
1Lb. Italian Coppola Ham
1Lb. Jarlsberg Swiss Cheese
1Lb. Fresh Basket Cheese
1Lb. Dry Ricotta Cheese
6 Eggs, beaten
Dice the meats into very small pieces and place in a large bowl. Dice the Swiss cheese into small pieces and add to the meat mixture. Drain all water off of the basket and ricotta cheeses. Use a ricer if possible to break up basket and ricotta cheese and add to the meat mixture. Add 6 well beaten eggs and mix to completely distribute. Set aside.
Crust – one batch
(You will need approximately 2.5-3 batches of crust for the 6 pounds of filling shown above)
6 C. Flour – unbleached
2 C. Shortening
4 Eggs
½ Cold Water
Cut flour and shortening together. Make a well and add beaten eggs and water. Bring together to make dough. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying.
Roll out dough in small amounts and cut approximately a 6-6-1/4 inch diameter circle from the dough. Place a ¼ c. of the filling mixture on one half of the circle of dough. Use a slight amount of water around the edge of the dough circle to ensure a good seal. Fold over half of the dough and use fork tines to crimp and seal the edges. Place the pies on a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Egg Wash
Beat one egg with 1Tbs. of milk. Brush pies with egg wash.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown. Place on cooling rack. Slice when cool to serve. Makes approximately 48 pies.

Store pies individually wrapped in plastic wrap to preserve freshness. Should be refrigerated. Pies freeze well.

Shopping for ingredients

Shopping for ingredients at our local Italian market

Shadone Ingredients

Assembled ingredients

Shadone pepperoni

Remove casing from pepperoni – sorry looks a bit yucky

Shadone Ingredients

Fine dice for all ingredients

Shadone Cheeses

Adding basket and ricotta cheese – through ricer

 

Shadone filling

Thoroughly mix filling with eggs

Shadone dough

Assemble ingredients for the pastry dough

Shadone dough

Cut in shortening with flour

Shadone template

6″ diameter circle for dough

Shadone dough

Rolling out the dough

Shadone pastry

Cut out the pastry round

Shadone filling

1/4 c. filling per pastry round

Shadone filling

Distribute filling on half of the pastry round

Shadone filling

Moisten edges with water and seal with fork

Shadones baked

Bake 22 minutes at 375 degrees

Italian Meat Pies

Italian meat pies freshly baked – cool then slice – YUM!

Hope you have enjoyed seeing the process.  We love them…and I don’t really eat meat but…I have to cheat with these.  Happy baking!  Happy Easter!

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Guide for a Romantic Lobster Dinner

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Sharon-Cummings-Lobster

Sharon Cummings Lobster Poster

Romance and lobster just go together! I’m a big list person – here is my list for this year’s romantic Valentine’s Day dinner for two.
CHECKLIST

The Music
The Beverages
The Table
The Tools – crackers, picks
The Lobster
Appetizer
Lobster & Side
Dessert

The Music
Set the mood with music! I keep it simple and use Spotify or Pandora. Spotify has a nice Valentine’s Day Playlist that’s filled with love songs to set the mood. For cooking/dining, the Brunch station on Pandora has a good mix.

Spotify

Spotify – Valentine’s Day Playlist

Pandora

Pandora – Brunch Station

The Beverages
Lobster can be served so many ways. I opt for a simple boiled lobster which will pair nicely with a chilled Chardonnay or Champagne. Here is a quick guide for pairing wine with lobster.

Pfendler-Chardonnay

Which Wine With Lobster – A Guide

The Table
Keep it beautiful and romantic with a few flowers and real candles! Candles boost the romance! Add a pretty tablecloth, cloth napkins and crisp white dishes to accent the red of the lobster and you have an inviting backdrop for the main event.

Candles - photo by Isari Flower Studio

Candles – photo by Isari Flower Studio

The Tools.
We eat lobster often so we have invested in good tools. William Sonoma carries a nice collection of picks and crackers that make the lobster cracking and serving job so much easier. You don’t want to be struggling with your dinner –  tools are key.

William-Sonoma-Cracker

William Sonoma Cracker

William-Sonoma-Picks

William Sonoma Picks

William-Sonoma-Pliers

Stainless Steel Italian Lobster Pliers William Sonoma

The Lobster
Gee…how many pounds each? That’s always our big question. 1 to 1-1/2 lbs. is an average size for a lobster. This year we are splurging and getting 2 lb. lobsters. Can’t wait!  Boil 9 minutes for the first pound and then add 3 minutes for every additional pound in the pot.
We called our order in to the local grocery store yesterday, (they are happy to special order for us) and our live lobsters will be in after 2 p.m. today. Easy. When they get home the lobsters go right into the fridge.

Loads of videos on how to crack and eat a lobster on YouTube.

Feathered-Cottage-Lobster_1

Lobster image will take you to Dan the Lobster Man showing us how to crack open a lobster

Appetizer
I want our lobsters to take center stage so I am keeping the appetizer simple and light. We’ll have skewers with cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil, drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Other light app options could be cantaloupe wrapped with prosciutto or a light salad. Some folks recommend a cheese biscuit – too heavy for my taste.

Caprese-Salad-Stuckonsweet

Caprese Skewers with Balsamic Reduction

Lobster & Side
This time of year when we cannot fire up the Weber I keep the prep simple by boiling the lobster. Easy, quick and elegant! To complement the bright red color of lobster, I’ve selected broiled artichokes with Aoili as the side. Again, the artichoke preparation will be simple and the flavors will marry perfectly together.

The photo below shows grilled lobster – lovely option too.  Click on the photo to see the recipe for the Aoili dipping sauce.

grilled-lobster-tails-safron-aioli-600x901

Grilled Lobster Tails with Saffron Aioli and Grilled Artichokes

Dessert
Two things that are a perfect match – strawberries and chocolate! Elegant. Sensuous. Chocolate dipped strawberries make a juicy, delicious ending to a romantic dinner. Yum!

Chocolate-Strawberries

9 Secrets to Perfect Chocolate-Covered Strawberries HuffPost Taste

That’s it!  Put on the music, chill the wine, set the table, light the candles and have fun! Enjoy!

 

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Top Picks for a Soap Dish

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seasaltproduct

Swedish Dream Sea Salt Soap

Can a soap capture the freshness of the ocean (in a good smelling kind of way)?  Can a soap transport you back to your best day at the beach?  Yes!  In a make you smile every time you use it kind of way.  If you love the ocean, the beach, sunny summer days and just feeling fresh, you’ll love Swedish Dream Sea Salt Soap!

Its invigorating fresh scent, amazing lather, and exfoliating sea salt crystals are addicting.  My college guy returns home on long weekends, bats his big brown eyes at me, and says “Mooooommmm, have any of that amazing soap that I can take back to school with me, pleeeaaassseee?” Mom’s intuition – he’s passing out sea salt soap to all the roommates.  No surprise – it’s really good.

I’ve recently spent a little time looking for a great soap dish to add to the Feathered Cottage offerings.  I haven’t arrived at the winning soap dish yet, but I know I’ll eventually find one that perfectly suits my favorite bar of Sea Salt Soap.

I currently use a metal basket style to keep our bar soap dry in the shower. No mushy bars of soap for me – yuck!  I’m drawn to ones that have either raised ridges, holes to drain, or some type of bar system.

Below are a few soap dish styles for your review. Love to hear if any of these speak to you.

I love the West Elm Market Icon Pig for the kitchen (I below) and the West Elm Loft Soap Dish  (O) for the shower.

And what have I been thinking for the last few days while looking at soap dishes…

“Rub a dub, dub…three men in a tub…”

Feathered-Cottage-Soap-Collage

A. Izoa Gentleman Soap Dish  B.  Amara Natural Wood Soap Dish  C. Fiat La Force Horn Soap Dish D. Gedy Martina Soap Dish  E. Gedy Mughetto Soap Dish  F.  Alessi Birillo

 

Soap Dish1

H. Gedy Twist Soap Dish   I.  West Elm Market Icon, Pig Soap Dish  J.  Gedy Myosotis Soap Dish  K. West Elm Wire Soap Dish  L.  Gedy G-Idra Soap Dish  M. Gedy G-Mizar Soap Dish

Soap Dish2

N.  Fendrihan D.R. Harris Soap Dish  O.  West Elm Loft Soap Dish  P.  Izoa Maritime Soap Dish  Q. West Elm Enamel Soap Dish  R.  Gedy Quadrotto Soap Dish  S.  World Market Bird Soap Dish

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Romantic Valentine’s Day Cake

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This Heart-shaped Genoise with Champagne-Raspberry Mousse cake is simply to SAMSUNG CSCdie for!  Trust me!  Gorgeous to look at, uber elegant, and oh so delicious.  I have whipped it up for a few Valentine’s Day and Birthday celebrations – this work of art never fails to take center stage.
Published in the February 1997 issue of Bon Appetit this heart shaped raspberry cake recipe by Dan Budd has traveled with me around the country and remains my favorite Valentine’s Day cake.
I have searched on line for a current copy and am unable to find the recipe so I will share the original as published in 1997. Quite a few steps involved in the process – can’t lie about that, but oh so worth the time.

When you click on the pages below they should be legible and easy to use.

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

Post it covers my notes – 🙂 oh la la

SAMSUNG CSC

Heart Shaped Genoise Cake Instructions – Page 2

Wouldn’t this cake look stunning on our Rustic Cake Stand with a Balon Cloche?

Feathered-Cottage-Wood-Cake-Stand-short

Feathered Cottage Rustic Cake Stand

French-Demijon-Cloche

Feathered Cottage Balon Cloche

 

Feathered-Cottage-Wood-Cake-Stand-short3This is going to be the 2015 Valentine’s Day dessert in our house.  See photo below for final result.

 

SAMSUNG CSCI would love to share photos of your Valentine’s Day desserts – please send pics.
Happy Baking!
champagne-pop

PS – The Champagne-Raspberry Mousse – OMG!!

 

 

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January White Sale = Thoughts of Linen

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Linen Fabric - Brown Dress with White Dots

Linen Fabric – Source – Brown Dress with White Dots

Its January white sale time – time for the annual sale after the hectic, holiday rush. Because my mind constantly wanders, white sale thoughts lead me to reflect on the state of my “linen closet” … which in turn takes me directly to my favorite subject – LINEN!
White Sale = Linen Closet = Linen
Friends and family know that I am obsessed with two things – linen and chickens. Guaranteed there will be posts on chicks at some point but for today – I’m all about linen.
Linen, with its natural fibers derived from the flax plant, is a wonder fabric and I think it’s perfect for just about anything and everything; you can use it for furniture, bedding, towels, drapes, luggage, bags, clothing and so much more. (I have all of these things by the way!) Linen is rapidly renewable, durable, moisture absorbing, breathable, and most of all – simply BEAUTIFUL!

Antique French Linen - Trouvais

Antique French Linen – Trouvais

Linen Fabric - Zsazsabellagio

Linen Fabric – Zsazsabellagio

I think people often associate linen with wrinkles. Yes, it can wrinkle. It’s true. Thing is – that doesn’t bother me and serious wrinkles are the extreme not the norm. I sleep with linen sheets, linen pillow cases, and a linen duvet every day. There is a “billowy” look that I love to my bedding and that feels amazing, but it’s not a mass of wrinkles at all.

Feathered Cottage - Organic Linen - Heritage Bedding

Feathered Cottage – Organic Linen – Heritage Bedding

What’s the trick – it’s in the laundry procedures. Wash with mild detergent, line or tumble dry on low heat and… IMMEDIATELY (and this is key) remove from the dryer and spread or fold – voila no wrinkles. Just soft billowy fabric. Fabric that looks so good you are dying to touch it.

Linen Towel

Linen Towel

Feathered Cottage - Tanzania Linen Rugs

Feathered Cottage – Tanzania Linen Rugs

Seriously – I giggle when I get into bed. I love linen sheets that much!!
I thought I would share some of my favorite photos of linen.

In our day to day lives linen is used in so many ways and it always looks inviting, sumptuous, and casually elegant – barefoot elegant.

Sofa - Alex Vervoordt Wabi Inspirations

Sofa – Alex Vervoordt Wabi Inspirations

Linen Drape - SecretMaison

Linen Drape – SecretMaison

Linen Drape - Restoration Hardware

Linen Drape – Restoration Hardware

Linen Top - JulesB

Linen Top – JulesB

Linen Halter Dress - LarimeLoom

Linen Halter Dress – LarimeLoom

Linen Jacket - Shoplet

Linen Jacket – Shoplet

Men's Linen Shirt - Resonances-Tumbler

Men’s Linen Shirt – Resonances-Tumbler

What’s your favorite use for linen?  Hard for me to decide – I like anyway you serve it.

 

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Three Strikes You’re Out or Third Time’s A Charm

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It’s a new year and I am determined to conquer technology by having a functioning, lovely blog on my Feathered Cottage website.

Feathered-Cottage (2)My first FC blog was with Google’s blogger.com (blogspot) platform that I linked back to Feathered Cottage.  I had been using blogspot for another blog that I write so there was no real learning curve with blogger  – totally easy to get up and running quickly.  I just linked the blog back to the Bigcommerce site and voila – I had a pretty seamless page.  I did have some misgivings about the blog being a link to a Google product and not really residing with the Bigcommerce site.  I just said “shhh” to myself hoping it would all work out.  And my thoughts on Google…that’s material for a future post.

In 2014 Bigcommerce announced a new blog feature for their eCommerce customers.  Yeah – all my Feathered Cottage material on one site!  I immediately switched over to the integrated blog feature that Bigcommerce offered.  Not a great idea in hindsight. In my opinion, the blog feature didn’t work especially well in all the templates.  It’s missing some functions that I was used to having.  I felt like my hands were tied.  It just wasn’t visually pretty or easy to use.

Third time is a charm – I just know it!  I’ve made the switch to a WordPress platform and I am linking it back to my Bigcommerce site.  Done.  The downside is that I have to rely on linking my blog to the eCommerce site.  I have simply decided to focus on creating a beautiful blog with good content and not worry so much about it being hosted with a third party.

I know there will be a learning curve with the WordPress platform but I am confident I will be able to sort though all of the functions with a bit of time.  I am looking forward to designing and creating posts that are graphically beautiful with interesting content that I hope will spark creativity and help you craft a meaningful lifestyle – one that’s perfect for you!

YearoftheSheep

I am sad that I’ve lost my previous posts (I especially loved the Lavender & Laundry piece – boo)  but I am excited about this fresh start in 2015.

The 2015 Year of the Sheep post that I am dreaming about has me jazzed – stay tuned.

Best wishes for a healthy, fun, creative 2015!

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