Friday, February 24, 2012

Giveaway at Common Ground




Yesterday, one of my blogging friends, Debra, author of Common Ground,  announced a giveaway to my English Transferware shop.  I wanted to introduce everyone to her and send you over to follow her beautiful blog and enter the giveaway.




I adore Debra's collection of sheep figurines she has shared on her blog.  Her collection has made me want to start one of my own..as if I don't already collect enough! Aren't these adorable?
Debra doesn't know it, but I've sort of been stalking her sheep via her blog.  I mean it,  I really think these are so precious and I want them...ALL of them!   =)




Her home and style of decorating are so beautiful.  You'll be sure to find lots of inspiration at Common Ground.


Debra also has her own Etsy shop, Common Ground Petite Boutique, where she sells necklaces she's made from vintage finds like these with old number/locker tags and keys.  Debra is working with me on two pieces for my girls and had the great idea of using the locker tags with the years they were born, '95 and '97 so they'll be personalized to some degree.  Kalyn's will be similar to this one with the cross, locker tag and embellished key.


Ashton will love something like this with a vintage watch face adorning the key.  Such a cute idea!



So please go over to  Common Ground and let her know I sent you.  Follow along and enter to win $50 towards any purchase in my Etsy shop!  She's got a special discount code waiting for you there as well.


Enjoy your weekend!



Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Tablescape for a Client and Moss Topiaries





I did this setting for a customer who purchased these plates and allowed me to keep them long enough to complete a table with them.   Thank you for being so patient Donna!  I hope that you, and everyone else, finds some inspiration and enjoys the photos of this table!




The blue transferware plates have a bouquet of flowers with a butterfly and bird fluttering amongst them.  








Before I put this table together, I'd made up a bunch of reindeer moss topiaries for my shop and had them on the dining room table when Michael, my 22 year old son, came in and remarked about what a neat centerpiece they made, assuming I'd put them on the table for that reason.   I muttered ''uh huh" and sort of dismissed his comment continuing on with what I was doing which was cleaning up my topiary mess to prepare for the table setting.   About half and hour later,  when I was setting the table I thought to myself,  "Michael's right, these topiaries do look cute as a centerpiece".  My little decorator!    Don't tell him I said that.





I changed the table up from what I'd planned originally (I seem to do that alot) and used the handled willow chargers which are so casual because I felt they went with the natural look and feel of the topiaries.  So thanks to Michael for the idea! =)  



Right after listing the topiaries to my Etsy shop I got a large custom order to make some of these for a wedding that will be decorated in an Alice and Wonderland theme. That sounds fun!  I will be working on completing those this weekend.  She's having me make them all in teacups, similar to this one.



I wish I had more than three place settings of this butterfly flatware but since I don't...

I opted for the next closest thing that I've got eight of,  and that is this set of Napolean Bee flatware.  It goes with the butterfly and flowers on the plate...don't you think?
 
Here's a link to the bee flatware if you'd like to purchase it yourself:


45 Piece Flatware Set, Service for 8







To give this table a little different look for evening dining I made  two very minor adjustments.  Can you tell what they are?


  


 I  converted my napkin rings (yes they are transferware napkin rings!).... 





...into tea light holders and placed them at each setting.  
They are perfectly sized to hold tealight candles!






The other minor change I made was to tuck the napkins into the glasses.


I found that I really like the touch of blue in this room!


Happy Tablescaping!


And one last thing...please visit Debra at Common Ground.  She featured me today and will be hosting a giveaway to my Etsy shop tomorrow....which you won't want to miss out on! =)





Partying at these fab blogs:

Very Merry Vintage Style for Share the Love Wednesday
Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Friday
Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday
White Ironstone Cottage for Treasure Chest Friday
2805 for Potpourri Friday

Style Sisters for Centerpiece Wednesday
BNOTP for Tablescape Thursday

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mmmm...Homemade Pizza

 I haven't spent as much time blogging over the past couple of months because I've been concentrating on ramping up my business and meeting new goals where that is concerned, but over the holidays, I took photos of quite a few dishes that we prepared with the intent of sharing the recipes with you all.   This is one of the "Just Because" dishes...   Just because it's pizza and just because it's so good!  


The crust is thin, crispy and seasoned to perfection.  Shawn brushes a little olive oil around the edge before baking, and sprinkles with fresh herbs and garlic.  mmm, mmm, mmm!



Of course you can top your pizza with whatever toppings you like, but one of our family favorites is this combination of homemade Alfredo sauce (tastes equally great with plain tomato sauce or your fave pizza sauce), grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, spinach and a blend of mozzarella and smoked gouda cheeses.  Crumbled bacon and mushrooms are excellent additions to this one as well.





It's beautiful, isn't it?  I told Shawn that we need to serve this at our family's annual Christmas Eve dinner because we always have a big buffet of finger foods and it looks so Christmas-ey.  Christmas Pizza!  



To make the dough, you will need the following:

1/4 cup hot water (110 degrees)
1 envelope packet of instant yeast
3/4 cup water at room temp
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups bread flour
(unbleached a/p flour will do in a pinch)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Get out your food processor (or mixing bowl if making by hand like Shawn does) and add the hot water and yeast.  Let stand for five minutes.  Then add the olive oil, flower and salt.  Slowly incorporate the rest of the water while pulsing the processor or mixing by hand until it comes together.  Continue processing it until it is smooth and elastic.   Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a smooth, round ball.  Take a little bit of olive oil and coat the exterior of the ball to keep it from developing a skin and place it in a mixing bowl.  Cover the bowl with a warm wet towel and let it rise   for an hour until it has doubled in size.  Once this is done use your fists to punch down the dough and get the air out of it.  Separate into two balls and you are ready to roll it out and make some pizza!


Shawn often blends herbs (oregano, basil & thyme) directly into the dough as he makes it.  Oh, is this ever so good.  He also does this with his famous Focaccia bread.  


Poke holes in the dough with a fork.  This will help keep air bubbles/pockets from forming in the dough.


Spread with your favorite sauce leaving about an inch of dough uncovered around the edges,

that's so you can brush a little olive oil around the edge and sprinkle with garlic powder, like Shawn does, which makes it nice and crispy and so tasty.  

Next you'll want to use a pan like this or as close to this as you can find...something with lots of holes.  We have a big round pizza pan with holes in it but we like this grill rack better because it has more holes spaced closer together and really allows the air to penetrate the crust, ensuring that is comes out super crispy.
Oh, and cover it with some cornmeal to... which also aids in crispiness and helps prevent sticking.



We always sprinkle a little freshly grated parmesan (you can use canned grated as well) directly over the sauce and then a nice layer of mozzarella or a mozz/gouda blend.  We use about 1/4 part gouda to 3/4 part mozzarella.


We then proceed to layer the other ingredients and finish with a light scattering of cheese which we've found helps hold the toppings onto the pizza...and nobody ever complains about extra cheese.






Bake at 500ยบ, yes five ain't no jive hundred degrees, for 10 minutes or until the crust looks golden brown and cheese is melted and just beginning to brown atop.
Like this!




Divertiti!!!
 as Ashton says in Italian...which means Enjoy!!!


Save on specialty pizza pans and other kitchenware with Macys coupon codes.


Joining:  Foodie Friday, Wow, HoH, Blue Cricket Design

Monday, February 20, 2012

Since it's not President's Day

No matter what the mattress sale ad reads, it's NOT President's Day.   Since 1885, it has officially been called 'Washington's Birthday', a national federal holiday in honor of the Father of Our Country.  Originally it was celebrated on Washington's true birthday, February 22,  until 1968 when some lawmakers wanted to celebrate generalized presidential achievement, particularly those of Abraham Lincoln.  The Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed, which created three day weekends along with the sales-a-thons we are bombarded with by retailers.  Because many jurisdictions celebrated Lincoln's birthday on February 12,  which is so close to Washington's,  a general perception grew that the birthday of the Great Emancipator was an inclusion to the Act, though it was not.   Today is "Washington's Birthday".  Today is the day to celebrate all things Washington.

Since my blog is 90% about a particular subject, you can imagine what I'm going to share with you, can't you? Of course you can. 

How about beginning with some transferware plates that depict images of Mount Vernon, Washington's home?
This pattern is simply titled Mount Vernon and was produced by Johnson Brothers in a variety of colors.

red/pink transferware dinner plate (for sale HERE)


same plate as above but in brown polychrome

 Brown polychrome salad plate depicting the main entrance to the estate on the West front.

Garden house gazebo

Mount Vernon dish set in blue


s an unparalleled model which will be forever relevant. 
George Washington's bravery, leadership, and impeccable character encourages a boldness of spirit that the world seldom sees, but should always remember.  His powerful affirmation of faith and patriotic duty are reflected in this ever famous image of The Prayer at Valley Forge, engraved by John C McRae in 1866, based on a painting by Henry Brueckner.  

If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War.
~George Washington~






Here are more of my posts with Patriotic themes and transferware:

HERE and HERE

Kindest regards, Nancy



Visit my Etsy shop below where you'll find over 1000 transferware items for sale!