Thursday, July 28, 2011

Make Classic Damask a Great Accent in Your Home

Are you an admirer of damask patterns? 

While I generally love color, I've found these sweet patterns in black and white are actually great companions pieces. You'll find fabrics, wallpapers and accessories in these intricate and antique patterns.

Since I have a lot of pink and white in my creative space, pieces such as file folders, mugs, file holders and boxes in the black and white pattens mix right in. 

You'll also find these patterns in colors but there is something quite classic about black and white. 

Did you know that damask patterns were first invented in the middle ages? That's amazing and they certainly have stood the test of time. You'll also see it quite in use during the Victorian era.

If you don't have any damask items in your home, pick up an item and try it out. I think you'll find yourself noticing more and more damask. You just might become a collector.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Absolute Best Fresh Strawberry Pancake Sauce

Now that you know the easy way to hull the berries, let's make a fantastic sauce for Sunday pancakes! Pancakes are one of my favorite comfort foods and spring and summer are the best times to enjoy this recipe created by my dad in the 1960's. 

Frank's Famous Strawberry Pancake Sauce

One pint of strawberries
A few teaspoons of sugar
Half & Half
Your favorite pancakes

Start by placing about a pint of clean strawberries in a bowl. Cut the large ones in half first as they will be easier to mash.

Take a good old fashion masher (remember mashing potatoes with it when you were a kid?) and mash those berries.

The consistency should be juicy yet chunky.

Add about a couple of teaspoons of sugar (I don't like my foods very sweet, so I add just one). You can always start with one teaspoon and taste it once you've added the half and half. Then you can adjust to taste.

Now, pour in about a cup of half and half. Again, you can adjust this so your sauce is thinker or thinner, depending on how you like it. Add a little at a time, stir, then add more as you like.

Stir until it is all mixed together.

Voila! Here's your finished sauce. I usually make it before the pancakes and leave it on the counter so it can reach room temperature (you don't want to put cold sauce on your pancakes). Now, on to the pancakes.

My favorite pancakes are the thin kind. That's probably because my mom is from Sweden and that's how she made them when I was growing up. Of course, I love the fat ones too - any pancake is always a treat. So, go ahead and fix your favorite type. Or, if you live near an IKEA store, try this:

Real authentic Swedish pancakes, imported from Sweden available in their Swedish Food Market. Fast, easy and super tasty. Just like mom's!

Yum! Serve the sauce over the hot pancakes and enjoy!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

If You Love Strawberries, This Product Will Change Your Life

Love strawberries as much as I do? Then there is one item I highly suggest you purchase.

It's called the Chef'n Strawberry Huller. It's been highlighted in several magazines the past several months and since I eat strawberries frequently, I decided to check it out. It's so simple - just start by washing the berries and removing the leaves on top. 

Once the leaves are gone, simply press the green button on the end to open up the tines. 

Next, just press it into the strawberry, closing it slowly as you press on it, then give it a slight twist.

Pull the huller out and presto! The core is now firmly inside this nifty little gadget.

Look at how beautiful and perfectly hulled the strawberry is.

Simple press the green button and the core falls out. Here's a whole pile of them after I hulled a pint of berries. It makes the process of cleaning strawberries so much faster and easier. I'm not one to purchase unnecessary gadgets that just take up space and don't get used, but this I use every day. Oh, and did I tell you this works perfectly on tomatoes as well?

In my next post, I'm going to share my fabulous strawberry sauce recipe for pancakes that will make you say "Yum!". I had this for breakfast today and what a treat it is! It's an old family recipe from the 1960's but it's just as good today. Stay tuned!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries

Well, cherry season is just about over but the good news is it's heirloom tomato season! Are you enjoying the fruits of the summer? I got some fantastic peaches and Chandler strawberries at the farmer's market last weekend. Did you know there are several varieties of strawberries? Our market carries several and the Chandler's were so sweet this week. Even Nippy, my strawberry eating cat, loves them. 

There's also a corn vendor that brings in about 4,000 ears each week and it's the sweetest I've ever had. The line snakes around probably 30 deep as people wait in line. It comes from the central valley in Brentwood and trust me, it's worth it. The corn is as sweet as candy. So what foods are you enjoying this summer? And if it's winter in your part of the world, what are you cooking? 


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Where Bloggers Create 2011

Welcome to my creative space! This is where it all happens: photography, calligraphy, paper art, ribbon roses, fabric projects, vintage displays, plus computer time and more. I actually spend much of my free time here which makes me feel bad for some of my other rooms which just beg to be occupied.

I recently moved the desk from my bedroom into this space. It didn't get much use in the past but now that I use it every day, I can enjoy it so much more. It's my heaviest piece of furniture and was quite tricky getting it in here, but definitely worth the effort.

Six floral photos are framed in this window style picture frame and hung above the desk. I cannot resist photographing flowers, especially when Spring comes around.

Upon entry, you'll find an ornate mirror and some vintage decor. The mirror is actually behind the door, so it's not normally visible as the door remains opens to allow the kitties to go in and out.

Speaking of kitties, Miss Grace just plopped herself down on the table as I took photographs. She loves to be in the middle of every photo shoot. 

This paper and fabric birthday cake is displayed upon shelves. Displaying pretty things makes me feel good but it's always a challenge to find enough space.

 A cone is hung by ribbon upon a glass door handle wall piece.

Oh, you must use delightful file folders. Cavallini makes the most gorgeous folders. I particularly like the  series with birds and vintage writing. These folders are great for using in art projects as well. Sometimes I must just cut one up for the fabulous decor.

Memo boards are wonderful for pinning up inspirational objects

Some supplies are decorations themselves such as these salt and pepper shaker filled with German glass glitter. 

I covered the pink inspiration board with pink Dupiani silk and use it primarily to affix vintage rhinestone pins and floral pins, just waiting to be used in a new project. The window board on the right has mirrored panels which I often place things in. On the faux glass handle, tassels, ribbons and creative clothing tags hang forth.

Teacup holders found at the flea market are repurposed to hold supplies such as crepe paper...

...and newly created items for display.

Supplies and displays mingle together.

My Miss Mannequin sits atop the shelf waiting for new foofy accessories.

Little vignettes are displayed within a box. Groupings help to reduce a cluttered look.

I love these shabby chic chairs, repainted in a creamy white. The pad on top is there just for the kitties who love to keep me company.

The lamp base is adorned with floral in pink and green, still my very favorite colors. And, the black and white damask file holder adds a complementary punch of design.

Always repurposing, I pulled these silky silver ribbons from atop the community garbage area where someone had put the most beautiful gift boxes and ribbons into the recycle bin!

I hope you enjoyed visiting my space this year. Be sure to see many more spaces where bloggers create - you'll find the full list at My Desert Cottage. Thank you to Karen Valentine for hosting this fun event for the third year!