Tonight, I wanted to do a test run of my new frittata recipe (which I will be using for B&B guest breakfasts this weekend). So, I turned the evening's meal into a "breakfast for dinner" theme. There were individual veggie-bacon frittatas (the kale, onions, thyme, parsley, oregano, and eggs all came from our own property; the bacon and asparagus were from our lovely neighbors at Yale Creek Ranch and Cowhorn Vineyard, respectively), cups of chilled zucchini soup with fresh basil (all from our garden!), and bowls of watermelon and strawberries with chocolate mint (ok, ok, so the watermelon wasn't local...we had to purchase some to accommodate the dietary requirements of a guest, and since we had extra, it seemed a shame to waste it! Anywho, the strawberries are local, and the mint is from our garden).
Friday, May 17, 2013
It's been hectic around here in an over-the-top manner that I did not think we were capable of achieving! I've felt terribly guiltily for having had to actually turn potential guests away, simply because we had too many projects going on to manage guests on top of that. Well, the projects are still not complete (sigh), but we've finally got guests staying here again. This week/end is actually perfect for B&B guests - temperatures in the high 60s, partly cloudy, ripe strawberries, and loads of fragrant flowers! I've filled numerous vases around the inn with irises, valerian, heirloom roses, and honeysuckle. The entire house is perfumed...
Lots of tasty breakfasts planned for this weekend too! I have added two new dishes to my normal repertoire: a frittata, and an apple-oatmeal crisp. Your taste buds will love you for staying here, and your eyes will be delighted by these culinary masterpieces of color and presentation! But don't take my word for it (I'll let the prior evidence speak for itself)...
I know what you're thinking, "Come on! ANOTHER Caspar-Davis bird hat?!" Well, what can I say? They just keep flying into my greedy little hands (this time, thanks to the amazing duo over at Fab Gabs Vintage!)...
It was too warm out to wear the hat with its "made for each other" vintage outfit (a 1940s navy suit and red blouse), so instead I paired it with that lovely red & white linen dress I rescued a while ago. The red of the dress perfectly matched the red ribbon of the hat.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Friday, May 10, 2013
Things have been Busy-Busy-BUSY around here lately! Not only are we dealing with an early-start tourist season, the final huge spring planting push, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, etc., but I've also had the unbelievable luck to purchase the remaining clothing-related inventory of an antique store! As I said, it's been quite hectic!
Along those lines, I wanted to share some of the amazing COLOR images from a 1915 "National" fashion catalog. I actually purchased four magazines/catalogs from the early part of the 1900s, and then was given this particular catalog as a gift. It had originally been headed for the landfill, but the kindly owner saved it, and gave it to me. The images are incredible (as are the hats!), and I wanted to share them with you...
Suffice it to say, I've been having quite an enjoyable time flipping through all of these...The publications span from a 1905 "Life" magazine to a 1919 "National" fashion catalog. It's fascinating to flip through nearly two decades of history, from the turn of the century to the end of WWI! Along those lines, one of the absolutely AMAZING pieces I purchased from this antiques store was a WWI American Army Officer's Dress Coat by "John G. Haas." It's in very good condition, and the craftsmanship is exquisite! Haven't decided if we will be selling it or keeping it, so stay tuned...
Friday, April 26, 2013
Some days, it truly does feel like the "Funny Farm" around here. And I was beginning to feel that if I didn't escape, I would get sort of...well..."funny."
So, Ryan and I decided on an all-day date! I dressed up in my recently-acquired, adorable (but sadly abused) 1950s French landmarks novelty print dress. The red wool bolero jacket was something that I actually picked up while on our date. Since it matched my dress so perfectly, I wore it for the rest of the day! I also adorned my lovely locks with one of my spectacular "Art Bern Hats by Frank Palma" chapeaus. The design of this one is simply incredible!
We started our morning with coffee, bagels, and cream cheese at the local spot, "The Good Bean." From there, we went on to antique shopping, vintage clothing hunting, and ended up in Ashland eating French pastries while wearing French novelty prints (I know, I know! Sooo cliche!).
It was a grand day out...and I felt very relaxed...until we arrived home, and - as usual - all hell broke loose. First, we discovered that our two mischievous/wild boy donkeys had been playing a bit too roughly with each other, and one of them had a seeping bite wound on the side of his neck. Nothing serious, but we still had to chase him around the pasture with a can of antiseptic spray. Then, a phone call informed us that we had less than 48 hours to prepare for a 14-day visit from relatives. This, of course, threw everyone in an uproar...
All in all, it was a wonderful and much-needed day off. Ryan bought me a beautiful antique wooden hat block too! I'm so excited to use it!
Thursday, April 18, 2013
It's been a rather hellish two weeks, and today I told my husband that we needed to do something stress-free and FUN! So, we met up in downtown Medford for lunch. We ordered open-face sandwiches, italian sodas, and sinfully-delicious chocolate pastries from the phenomenal Downtown Market. Then, we walked over to a little park and had ourselves a picnic lunch!
I wore my screaming-orange vintage suit with plastic fruit jewelry and a vintage green faux bird hat.
What sort of drink matches such a wild ensemble? Why, an orange-cream soda, of course!
Ryan and I both got a kick out of the fact that my outfit matched the kids' slide set nearby...
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
If you've ever wondered about the "behind the scenes" of our Etsy photoshoots, here's a bit of a sneak view: we hang a bedsheet across the screen door of the greenhouse, set up two fluorescent lights (with umbrellas), and my lovely photographer-husband snaps the shots! As you can see, he works VERY hard...
Sunday, April 14, 2013
I still have one more formal dress at the dry cleaners, but here are pictures of the other vintage pieces that I "rescued" from this local estate.
Adorable 1940s two-piece knit suit in a deep, dark green. Can you believe that the seller had removed all of the beautiful buttons, and was planning to save those and throw this outfit away?! Breaks my heart to think of that happening, so I am very, very glad that I could save it and give it a good home...love-love-love the open-weave detailing along the shoulders!
1950s two-piece wool knit set in a lovely nubby purple. The skirt waist is elastic, and the back of the sweater has a short metal zipper. This one had so many moth holes as to make it almost unsalvageable! Thankfully, a lot of matching thread and a great deal of patience saved this beautiful set!
This 1940s/1950s two-piece suit set was originally white...and sadly so badly stained that no amount of stain remover could save it. It had to be dyed a darker color in order to make it wearable again. The only RIT dye I had left was a bottle of what (on the box) appeared to be a sunshiny yellow-orange that I thought looked quite nice. The color that actually came out was a bit...more...orange than I expected! I didn't think it would look good on me, but from the moment I slipped the suit on, I was in love! The orange color is actually quite perfect against my skin tone, and I LOVE the style of the suit and the super-bright color! Not to mention, the adorable rhinestone trim work on the bottom of the jacket. This set is proof that I can pull just about anything off, including a screaming-orange vintage suit with a faux bird hat!
Next, an adorable 1950s vintage wool dress with matching belt! Love the colors on this...the dress was another piece that was so badly moth eaten it was almost beyond saving. Yet again, matching thread and a bit of patience paid off...also had to repair the zipper (which was broken).
Now how about this adorable 1950s ranchwear set: embroidered blouse, slacks, and beaded belt (not shown). Some light staining overall, but still an absolutely fabulous set! Putting it on makes me immediately want to go out and rope some ornery donkeys!
Gorgeous 1950s silk-like material dress with red floral print and matching red belt. I cherish this pretty piece! The shoulders are heavily stained, but the print is so busy that it kind of hides it...
Out of all of the pieces that I "rescued," this 1950s cotton dress with french landmarks novelty print was the most badly abused. There were several large tears in the shoulders, a missing zipper, and such heavy staining that I could never hope to remove it! The bright side is that I was able to mend the tears, replace the zipper, and find a red belt that covers the worst of the stains. I am now in love with this piece...who wants to go out for coffee and pastries?!
As stated previously, there is one final red satin formal gown at the dry cleaners. I can't wait to get pictures of that, as it is GORGEOUS! In the meantime, I have to say that I am quite pleased with my $20 lot of vintage clothing pieces.
Monday, April 08, 2013
Guilty Confession: I'm a serial Craigslist browser. I know, I know, it's so embarrassing...
But come on - aren't we all? I mean, there is something fascinating about searching through all of the random chaos that people list on that forum! Sometimes you stumble across the most amazing finds, and other times you stumble upon the most...interesting...items (personal "scary item" favorite craigslist ad: edible underwear from 1984! You know how much they wanted for it? A THOUSAND bucks! Can't say anyone was surprised when the ad was taken down after about a day...).
This time, however, my craigslist trolling paid off! I found a person selling 1940s/1950s vintage clothing (an entire lot for $20). I raced down there, and sadly found that much of the clothing was in desperate need of TLC. Hideous stains (that no amount of effort could remove in some cases), tears, moth chews, etc. However, there was also a lot that I was able to salvage, some nice pieces, and the most lovely vintage westernwear (gorgeous embroidered blouse/slacks/beaded belt)! I dropped that off at the dry cleaner's, and will get pictures of it once it is nice and clean and pressed!
I'm still working my way through handwashing everything...there were 12 pieces total, and each and every piece needs to be carefully handwashed (with stain removal treatment), pressed, mended, and in some cases dyed a slightly darker shade to hide the stains. The 12 clothing pieces were as follows: westernwear set, emerald green two-piece knit set (skirt, cardigan sweater), nubby purple wool two-piece knit set (skirt, short-sleeved sweater), 1960s red satin evening gown with matching belt, 1940s knit wool two-piece suit with rhinestone detailing (unfortunately, it's terribly stained and will need to be dyed a darker shade in order to be wearable), 4 1950s cotton dresses, 1 linen dress, 1 silk dress, and one wild blue wool dress with matching belt.
I've only finished up 5 pieces thus far, and I'm showing pictures of four of them. The first is a lovely 1950s cotton dress with vibrant stripes & the skirt is cut in a gorgeous bias pattern. There is an adorable bow in front, and the dress buttons up the back.
1950s "Mode O Day" cotton dress with cute rose-patterned fabric, two front pockets, tie shoulders, and black rickrack trim. Fabric is pretty threadbare, with numerous tiny pinholes and stains - in short, the perfect gardening dress!
1940s/1950s "Fashion Frock" red linen dress with white racing stripes down the side - some very light staining near the zipper, but otherwise in excellent condition. The perfect summer frock!
1950s cotton dress with pretty floral design and adorable bow in front. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of yellow staining on the front, but again, this makes it the perfect gardening dress!
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
This is the time of year when everything is just beginning to emerge from the ground, but there isn't too much to eat out of the garden yet (however, if you're a "pasture comber" like me, there are always plentiful amounts of wild edibles to forage). The chickens and ducks are also laying heavily (in our case, 14 eggs PER day), so many of my spring and summer recipes use high volumes of eggs.
If you are like me, this is the time of year when the lust for fresh greens hits the hardest. The good news is that there are some vegetables ready for eating this time of year - beyond the normal sorrel and kale - and with a little foraging, you can prepare a delicious meal.
This recipe can be made either vegetarian or non. If you are a vegetarian, simply omit the sausage portion of the ingredients list. You are also not limited to the vegetables given below - feel free to experiment with whatever is growing in your own garden this time of year!
EARLY SPRING FRITTATA RECIPE
- 12 eggs
- 1 lb locally-raised pork sausage (NOT the links - I mean just the "loose" plain ground sausage)
- 1 large handful/bundle of freshly-picked asparagus stalks, chopped into ~1 inch long chunks (discard stalk ends)
- 2-3 early spring Walking Onion bulbs, peeled and chopped
- 1 large handful dandelion leaves, chopped
- 1 small handful freshly-picked oregano leaves, chopped
- 1 small half-handful freshly-picked thyme leaves, chopped
- 1 cup breadcrumbs (preferably from homemade, day-old sourdough bread)
- 1 cup grated cheese (we generally use cheddar)
- 1/2 cup milk
- Dash of cayenne pepper
- ~2 tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place butter in a large frying pan, and turn heat on to ~medium. Saute pork sausage and onions until pork is fully cooked and onions are clear (usually about 5-10 minutes). Toss in asparagus, and saute for another 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and pour ingredients into a medium mixing bowl. Toss in dandelion leaves, oregano, and thyme, and add breadcrumbs, milk, and grated cheese. Mix all ingredients together. Add 12 eggs, and mix again thoroughly until yolks are broken and all ingredients have satisfactorily combined (you can, alternatively, beat together the 12 eggs in a large measuring cup and then pour them in with the other ingredients, but I never do this as it simply dirties an extra dish and anyway it's just as easy to mix the eggs with everything else in the mixing bowl).
Pour all ingredients from mixing bowl into a buttered pie dish. Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes, or until top is golden brown and center doesn't wobble like liquid when you gentle shake the pan. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes, then serve warm.
This recipe is excellent for both breakfast and dinner!
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Quite a while back, as I was trolling the internet for hats, I came across an old Ebay listing for a Frank Palma hat (with original hat box!) that had sold a mere month before I purchased my first FP hat! Talk about breaking my heart - this amazing faux bird tilt hat sold with only 3 bids for a grand total of $28+shipping. I can't believe I missed this!! I bookmarked the page, and occasionally went back to the link so I could drool over the picture.
There are two interesting points about this hat:
(1) It is unique in that it reflects something I've never seen before: a "Frank Palma Original" on a white feathered, gilded double faux bird hat. The only other examples I have seen of this style of FP faux bird hats have always been under the higher-end "Art Bern Hats by Frank Palma" label. Based on my experience, the "Frank Palma Original" label is earlier than the "Art Bern" label. So, to me this demonstrates the interesting idea that perhaps Frank Palma began designing these higher end double faux bird hats under his own label first, and then was picked up by Art Bern to continue the design under the more "couture" label later...
(2) The original selling price of this hat reflects the trend of how sometimes being an open source of pictures and information can come back to bite you in the wallet! When I first began collecting Frank Palma hats, I paid anywhere from $28-$75 for them. After my first few hats, I began blogging heavily about them, sharing pictures on vintage hat enthusiast forums, and trying to share what limited knowledge I had on this milliner. Suddenly, the prices began climbing, and some of the hats began slipping through my hands because competition grew fierce and prices even fiercer. From July 2011, general Frank Palma prices went from under $100 to on average $250 in 2012 to $361 in 2013. While I am thrilled to share my love of this milliner with others, and provide a base of knowledge for those researching him, I have to say another part of me is a tad annoyed at how it's made it actually more difficult for me to continue collecting the hats. Ah well...
When this particular hat came up for auction a 2nd time, I stumbled upon it through mere chance, and my gasp of shocked delight was loud enough to bring my husband over to investigate! I knew this hat was meant to be mine! But I also knew it was going to cost me dearly...
I did end up winning it (ironic side note: the seller actually used my blog/webpages as a source of information for the listing's description of the hat!), and the hat came with the original hat box as well! Unfortunately, this hat is in the worst shape of any of my Frank Palmas. It's in the worst shape of pretty much all of my other faux bird hats, to be exact. It was obviously well-loved and very improperly stored in high temperatures. The hat is incredibly soiled on the inside, and will need a gentle cleaning. The glue has yellowed all over (and therefore yellowed the feathers), and ALL feathers on the hat body were loose. Due to the high-temp storage, touching the feathers caused them to begin to disintegrate. I do believe that I will eventually end up having to remove them all and replace them at some point, which absolutely breaks my heart. The only positive is that, for whatever reason, the birds and feathers covering the birds are all in excellent condition (now explain that to me?!). All that being said, I feel that I have the ability to restore this hat to its former glory. I have logged hours and hours of experience repairing/restoring vintage faux bird hats, so I feel pretty confident at this point that I can do a good job. This hat demands nothing less than perfection in restoration!
Long story short: in spite of its many flaws & ridiculously high price, this hat is absolutely amazing! It is stunning in an over-the-top manner I had yet to see achieved by a "Frank Palma Original" label. I love it, and I do not regret for a moment purchasing it! It was meant to be mine. I was given a 2nd chance...