Friday, July 21, 2017

From Garden to Table: Blueberry Pie II

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Hi everybody! A couple of summers ago, I shared a recipe for a blueberry pie made using the blueberries grown in my garden. I'm back in the kitchen again this summer with an enthusiastic grin, baking yet another pie using the delicious homegrown berries from the same blueberry bushes.

I've been experimenting with pie crust recipes since that time, and at last I've found the pie crust of my dreams! It's from Martha Stewart and is the best recipe to use if you love a crisp, light crust - not too sweet or too salty.


Pate Brisse
Martha Stewart
Yield: 1 double crust pie

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

In a large bowl whisk together flour, salt and sugar. Add butter, and using a pastry blender, process until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Add half the ice water and mix with a large wooden spoon or your hands until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky. To test, squeeze a small amount together: if it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. This dough may also be stored, frozen up to 1 month.

The filling I made is a standard recipe from my old, dogeared Fannie Farmer cookbook (pictured above):


Blueberry Pie Filling

1 quart blueberries, rinsed and stems removed
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Roll out one of your chilled disc-shaped pie doughs and transfer into the pie pan. Add the flour, sugar and salt to the blueberries in a large bow and mix well. Pour into your prepared pie pan.

Roll out the other chilled pie dough and place it over the pie, crimping the edges. Pierce the top crust. 

Bake at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting. 

Once my pie was assembled I used cookie cutters to cut shapes from the leftover pie dough and baked them separately from the pie. Just before serving I added the cut shapes to the top of the pie for a fun decorative touch. 

Thanks for looking!


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Friday, July 7, 2017

#collectandstyle - Catching Up On The Monthly Favorites

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Hello #collectandstyle community, I'm so happy you are here! I'm happy I'm here also - it's been too long since I've posted any Monthly Favorite images from the Instagram #collectandstyle hashtag.

Today we're looking at collected and styled images from April, May and June, belonging to Aida Keith @curiousmekeithy, above, followed by Maricar @merrymaman, and Lynne @cottagebythec.

Australian Aida Keith @curiousmekeithy is sharing her journey on sustainability, recycling, vintaging, discovering the world and taking the moment to sip tea along the way. You might have already guessed that it's Aida's vintage teacup and teapot finds that catch my eye. Aida has an interesting collection, such as the unique rose teacup duo shown. Isn't it lovely how Aida styled it with a basket of delicious looking apples and a few colorful roses? The neutral tones in the basket and the wood surface perfectly support the vibrant pops of color in the teacup set, apples, and roses, creating an energetic autumnal scene.

Aida's favorite pastime is hanging out in her 'she shed', or tiny cottage, sipping tea and reading magazines. Her shed was recently featured in She Sheds - A Treasure Trove of Women's Creative Spaces.

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Maricar (@merrymaman) is a maker of things, sharing her days on Instagram. Her inspirational flat lay photography feels as though one is taking a magical journey alongside her, via her interesting collection of everyday items such as the books and bookends in the photo above, as well as kitchen tools, office supplies, stationary, food and clothing. You'll always see Maricar's images beautifully embellished with vibrant flowers and greenery, and feel her spirit shine through with the little stories she tells about events in her life.

It is through Maricar's tales that I learned she is a pilgrim, enjoying regular walks on the Camino de Santiago, or Way of St. James. This is a pilgrimage route to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great, located at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in the northwestern Spanish province of Galicia.

Maricar is also a part-time flower mortician on Stellar, meaning she likes to faff, or artistically arrange flowers on a flat surface as they wither, fade and fail. She sees it as an act of gratitude for their having enhanced her life. 

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Lynne (@cottagebythec) is sharing her life in pics and prose. She is a wife, mom, grama and nurse and believes in doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. Oh, and Lynne is really a mermaid in disguise!

And in a spirit of sharing, Lynne tagged me on Instagram with this image she took of her heirloom decorative Nippon bird plate. It has been treasured in Lynne's family for a generation, having been part of her family's home, and for her, represents the treasured memories of her childhood. Lynne inherited this lovely plate from her mother when she passed away, and Lynne was tasked with sorting through her belongings. Lynne chose this plate, and many other treasures, as a memento of the loving home she grew up in.

Thank you for joining me for #collectandstyle Monthly Favorites! For more stories about people who love to collect, style and share their treasured heirlooms, new, vintage and charity shop finds, click on a link below; or to participate, tag your styled images of your collections to #collectandstyle on Instagram.


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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Styling and Photographing For Instagram

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Hi everyone! Here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, the flowers are in full bloom almost everywhere you look. And that means an endless supply of ideas for photographing them starts tugging at my brain.

Today I'm sharing three recent iPhone images, all involving styling flowers together with tea. Styling is a challenging skill to acquire, but it can be an enjoyable and mindful activity, especially when the subject matter is one you enjoy. And I happen to enjoy both flowers, and tea!

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Still life photography can be a photographers best friend - it's just you, your camera, and a few objects. You are free to arrange and rearrange your subject matter, trying a variety of layouts, without interruption or worry about being judged. And if you are using a phone camera, which has no manually variable adjustments, your main concentration is on lighting and composition.

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For me, photographing tea and flowers came about rather serendipitously. Discovering the supportive community on Instagram, learning the art of flatlay composition, acquiring a new obsession with collecting vintage teacups, and opening an Etsy teacup shop, has all been a fun, challenging, and fortuitous journey of discovery!

Thanks for looking friends!


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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Vintage Finds: Berggren Kitchen Tile

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Hi Friends! Of all the blog posts I've shared thus far, one of the more popular ones is about the home wares made by the Berggren Shelton Trayner company.

Design Spotlight: Vintage Berggren Ceramic Wall Hangings outlines the history of the company and talks about how Audrey and Arthur Berggren specialized in designing their gift and home ware products in the traditional Swedish folk style known as 'Dalmalningar'. I also featured three of my own vintage Berggren decorative wall hangings as examples of that style, and shared a Pinterest board of their unique and lovely products.

On a recent stroll through one of my favorite charity shops I found yet another vintage Berggren ceramic tile, pictured above, and it reminded me of how fond collectors are of the rich bright colors and whimsical floral motifs found in Dalmalningar art.

So in honor of all the Berggren fans, as well as those who appreciate Swedish folk styles in general, not only am I sharing this tile (which, by the way, says "Flowers leave part of their fragrance on the hands which bestow them"), but I've also updated my Pinterest board with even more images of Berggren home wares.

Enjoy!

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Friday, May 5, 2017

DIY: Foraged Spring Wreath

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Hi everyone! It's been awhile since I made a seasonal wreath to share with you. The idea for the wreath I'm showing you today has been bumping around in my mind for a very long time, but it required spring seasonal flowers. And now that Spring is in full bloom here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, I was able to finally make the idea a reality. Happy Spring!

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I am fortunate in that I live where there are plenty of wild and cultivated flowers of all kinds in my neighborhood. They're growing in alleyways, on walking paths or overflowing into curb areas. I also have a generous neighbor who shares floral clippings from her yard with me.

For this wreath, I gathered ivy, magnolia and muscari, which is also known as grape hyacinth; of course, you may use any combination of your own preferred foraged flowers. The only 'rule' I set for myself is that my wreath would have just three floral elements. I like my wreaths to be simple statement pieces.

To make this easy wreath, you'll need:

  • a 12" natural wreath form (I purchased mine at a craft store and use it over and over)
  • a single vine of ivy - 24" in length
  • 2 -3 magnolia flowers
  • handful of muscari
  • 24" of 3/4" ribbon
  • junky scissors
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Wrap the ivy around your wreath front to back. I wound mine onto about one-half of the wreath form - from roughly 7 o'clock to 2 o' clock, preferring to leave some open space. Tuck and wedge the ivy into any crevices until it's secure. Repeat with the ribbon, alternating it between the ivy, and then tuck it in place.

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I examined the magnolia flowers carefully, decided on a composition, and these became the focal point. (I chose two flowers that were in different stages of bloom and one bud) Once you have formulated your own pleasing configuration, tuck them into the bottom middle of the wreath. Lastly, place muscari sprigs in sporadic places around the wreath.

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And that's it!

I hung my wreath at our front entryway and added a pair of vintage love bird plaques that were a recent charity shop find. Can't resist a vintage bird anything...

Thanks for reading and I hope you will consider making your own Foraged Spring Wreath!

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Kawaii Corner - Inarco Frog Planter

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Hi Friends! It's been awhile since I shared a fun, lovable "kawaii" (Japanese concept of cute, particularly cute animals) vintage collectable. This big-eyed, smiling happy frog, with its proper salutational hat-tipping gesture, was manufactured and hand-painted by the Inarco Company in Japan some fifty or sixty years ago. It has been hanging around our house for quite some time, and although it gets carefully shifted from one place to another, it never ceases to put a smile on the faces of whomever it meets.

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Although pipe smoking has been long out of fashion, our aquatic companion is, even in our modern times, considered to be very smartly dressed in a pink waistcoat, accessorized with a jaunty yellow straw hat and black bow tie.

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From those lovable big protruding eyes...

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to those slap-happy webbed feet...

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the cuteness factor, or "kawaii", is irresistible. I'm sure we will be delighting in our frog friend's imaginary antics for many more years to come.

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Thanks for being here. See you again soon on Kawaii Corner!


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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Hand Ink-Stamped Easter Eggs

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Hi Friends! I spent some time this weekend making ink stamped Easter eggs. The front cover of this month's Martha Stewart Living magazine features some perfectly hand ink-stamped eggs. Also featured in this issue are simple, fun polka dot eggs made with paint and daubers, and beautiful decoupaged eggs using paper doilies. 

The ink-stamped eggs looked interesting, I thought. I have a boat load of scrap-booking supplies, including various colored inks and cute stamps like the bird pictured here, so it was an easy choice.

My eggs are not perfect, but it was a relaxing, enjoyable, quiet activity.

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Thanks for looking!


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