Nov 21, 2014

Smoked salmon pate

A few years ago we went on a family trip to the mountains, and a relative brought out this wonderful smoked salmon "pate".

There's not actually any liver in it, so I guess you could just think of it as a fancier version of smoked salmon spread.
We can cheat a bit on the name.
Just for the sake of a really easy appetizer that sounds fancier than it is, right?

Living in the Pacific Northwest, we are known for our salmon.  
I always love to incorporate a bit of Northwest flavor in some form for Thanksgiving.
This spread is packed with flavor, is easy to put together, and even better when it's made the day before. 
No need to take up extra stove top or oven space for a yummy not-too-rich dish that family and friends can enjoy before the big feast.

My favorite way to eat this is with carrot sticks or Wheat Thins.

Here you go:

Smoked Salmon Pate

*1 package of smoked salmon
{make sure you take out any bones and remove the skin}
* 1/4 cup chopped dill pickle
* 1/2 tsp. celery salt
* 1/4 cup celery, chopped
* 1/4 cup mayonnaise
*2 T. fresh parsley- extra for garnish if you wish

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor.
Chill for one hour or more.
Serve with cut veggies or crackers.


xo Denise

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Nov 18, 2014

vintage rustic Thanksgiving table setting, and a story


Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and I wanted to invite you into our home.
Thanksgiving in my family was always a big event.

Usually my grandma hosted it, but I remember a few times when we had it at our house.
Lots of aunts and uncles and cousins would arrive from out of town and extra tables were set up so we were all together at one big table.

Thanksgiving at my grandma's house has tons of great memories.
My grandma and grandpa lived in a 55+ mobile park.
 Everything was pristine, and they had little tiny sidewalks that were a kid size dream.
They must have been 16" wide.

There was always a lady riding through the neighborhood on a grandma-size three wheeler bike.
We creeped along at the appropriate 10 mph in our car, until we reached their carport.

For some reason, we always came through the back door.
And when we did, the smell of roasting turkey was almost as wonderful as grandma's joyful laugh and hug.

We would come in with all our food contributions to the dinner, and grandma would bustle back into the kitchen to make sure everything was running smoothly and direct us where all the casseroles and food should go.
Her kitchen was tiny.  
I really don't know how she /we pulled off a feast to feed 20 people.

The house was warm and cozy, and everyone but the moms stayed out of the kitchen. 
The relish tray, cheese ball, and Chex mix were our pre-dinner appetizers.
By the time we sat down for dinner, the black olives from the relish tray were usually depleted.
And there was always that last minute rush and flurry of finishing pan gravy and pulling dishes out of the oven.
It was a magical and concentrated dance between those ladies in the kitchen.

My grandma always set a beautiful table.
She was such an amazing hostess.  
She always had pretty white lace tablecloths, monogrammed candlewick glasses, and pretty china set out.
I now collect Candlewick stemware because of those wonderful memories.

Most of the food was set out on the table, with a few extra dishes on the counter when there wasn't room.

Our dinner was pretty traditional.
Turkey. Mashed potatoes and gravy.  Stuffing.  Sweet potatoes with the marshmallows on top.  
The cranberry "sauce" which was really just the can shaped jiggly stuff plopped into a crystal dish.
I was deeply disturbed by this, and it also prompted me to make the real deal when we were first married.  I have not, and cannot bring myself to serve can shaped cranberry "sauce".

And there was always one very, very special holiday treat.  
Actually, it wasn't just reserved for holidays, but it was always a staple at holidays.
Butter dips.
No one I knew in all my growing up years had ever heard of them, and so a few years ago I shared them on the blog.  
They were little doughy bits of heaven.  
Not hard to make, but messy!

It was rare if any were ever left after Thanksgiving dinner.
The key is to use salted butter.
I'll try and do a repost on the recipe later this week.

After dinner was done, and the dishes cleaned up, the leftovers put into take away dishes, the dads would all find a spot on the couch or a comfy chair and attempt to stay awake during the football game.
The ladies would all sit at the now cleared dining table and play Scrabble, Yahtzee, Rack-O, or Dutch Blitz.
Catching up on life and chatting about Christmas.
As the kids would run by, the moms would try and get Christmas gift ideas from them.

Depending on my age, I would either sit and listen to the adult conversation or wander back to my grandma's bedroom and try on her jewelry or sift through her buttons in her sewing room.
Sometimes she would let me try on her high heels.

My brother and cousin would be wrestling, laughing, and running through the house getting sweaty.
When it got to be too much, they would head outside to the cul-de-sac and run off more energy or play football in the 30 degree weather.

Soon it would be time to go, and we would gather up everything to take home, slip on our jackets, and give hugs.  
And then stand in the mudroom saying goodbye and telling one last story for another 30 minutes.

What I take away now, looking back on all those memories, is that my grandma made everything beautiful with what she had.  And it wasn't always a lot.
She did her best to make people feel welcome in her home, and to make food with a lot of love and invite others in to share in that love as often as she could.  

So many wonderful memories.
I'll never quite have the same touch at hospitality that she did, but I try!

Thanks for visiting with me today!
I wish for you good memories and happy times with your family this Thanksgiving.

xo Denise

tablecloth- Target
wicker placemats- Ikea
flatware- World Market, Danieli
white dinner plates- World Market
turkey plates- Home Goods
napkin / towel- World Market
stemware- bee glasses, World Market; Candlewick, vintage
table runner- Pink Postcard Etsy
footed wood slice- Home Goods
blue metal pitcher- gift from relative
banner- handmade by me

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Nov 17, 2014

Thanksgiving mantel and new furniture for the family room

Work has really stepped up to a full time job.  
I know a lot of people wonder what it is that I do all day when I say I 
"work from home and have a vintage home decor business".

Well, right now, it means most mornings I'm either attempting to get into the shop before it officially opens to bring in new furniture pieces or refresh my space.

Beginning on Thursday and through the weekend, I'm driving around finding new pieces for Aunt Bee's House or upcoming shows. 
(sometimes two months in advance.  I'm already starting to save items for a February show.)

And in between all of that, I'm painting furniture, fixing / cleaning pieces, creating pieces, attempting to keep Etsy updated, attempting to keep regular blog posts, and then the regular-life mom stuff like errands, laundry, and grocery shopping!

Not a lot of time for decorating, which I love to do, but sometimes it just feels like I'm contributing to more messes around the house!

It was nice to take some time this week to decorate for our own space though.
After all the post-Farmhouse Show organization, I went through and dropped off what I needed at Aunt Bee's and then had fun.

One piece I was really torn on whether to keep or sell was this 10 drawer dresser:

Isn't it awesome?
It's almost like a card catalog or apothecary cabinet.
The brass label pulls were all original, and I really loved the wood.

It was a total mess when I found it- Mr. Bachelor who previously owned it wrote on all the drawers in  black marker.  
Work shirts, socks, shorts....
you know... stuff you need to write in marker on your 10 drawer dresser.
I scrubbed it really good, and then used Old English on it to hide a lot of the scratches and even out the color.
If you look at the photo below where my watermark is, you can still see a faint bit of stubborn ink.

I don't really have anything specific that I'm putting in all those drawers right now, so I just did a graphic look with all the labels.  

As much as I loved our antique farm table for our TV, this fits so much better in the space.

I wanted more character pieces for our family room, and less of a girly feel than our living room.
I also treated myself to a special purchase this past week.

I've been looking for the perfect school map to hang in here, and I was able to buy one from my friend, Alex of Attic Antics.

Alex travels overseas and brings back wonderful treasures from the Netherlands, Belgium, and France.
She had just gone on a big buying trip in October and had a home show- which I missed.
But the good news was that I was in Portland a few days later and was able to drop in and see a couple things I was interested in from her Facebook photos of her show.

I couldn't resist adding in another bit of England.

You may have noticed that the map is written in Dutch!
Love it.

It goes great with our colors, and is just such a cool, unique piece.

As for our mantel, I decided it was time to freshen up the look.

The green squash that I had in the wood window box was beginning to expire, and I didn't want to let that get out of hand.

Pssst... by the way, you have to visit Ikea's paper goods section if you haven't already!
Oh my.
Paper heaven.

I grabbed several of these numbered tags and gift tags when we were there last week.

...And promptly added one to our mantel vignette.
You can see the other ones I nabbed on my Instagram feed.

I have another little sneak peek of a spot in our kitchen to show you later this week.

Let's meet up tomorrow and I'll show you my Thanksgiving table setting!

xo Denise

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Nov 11, 2014

my creative studio

I've gotten a few requests over the last couple years to show my creative space.
What does it look like?  do you have one? where is it?

Like most of our house, it's been a long journey with some of our makeovers.  
I've been tweaking and decorating my room since we moved into our house in 2008.

I feel kinda bad when I hear friends or other bloggers say, 
whew! it's been forever (3 months) but I'm FINALLY done decorating this room!!...
It's been 6 years and I'm mostly?

We all have our own pace, don't we?
And my pace is on Slow.

I wanted a space that made me feel good when I'm in it.  

Organized, girly, fun.
I'm still working on some of the fun aspect, but one way I added it was with my new chandelier.

Imagine me jumping up and down clapping my hands when Jon finished putting it up and asked, 
Is this what you wanted?

I could've gone all out and spent lots of money on bins and cute things to organize this room, but I really wanted to stick to a budget and not use all my money on this space.
I still have to buy inventory to sell.

I did a room tour a few years ago on this space when I first completed it, but shortly after that it just wasn't functioning the way I needed it to.

I had a HUGE drafting table that I thought would be great for cutting yardage, working on crafty projects, etc, but it ended up being a catch-all for unfinished projects, fabric scraps and vintage pieces that needed to be tagged and stored. 
Not useable, not helpful to my process.

The floor was a literal dumping ground and it looked very much like a hoarder space.

It was also being used as storage for Hannah's school papers and baby memorabilia and all our wrapping paper.

 I ditched the table (actually, I recycled it at a scrap metal site)
and realized what I mostly needed from this room is storage.

A place to organize all my supplies and work on small projects.
A table to sew at.
A spot to package up online sales.

And that's about it.
Creative studio with lots of storage.

So here's the details on this room:
I papered the ceiling with old book pages and Mod Podge.
It took me an entire weekend to do, and it wasn't too bad on my neck.

I color coordinated all my ribbons into pretty jars so that I can go for what I need easily.
Before, I had all my ribbon scraps stuffed into a plastic storage bin, and it wasn't pretty or easy to sort through.

I decided that I wanted organized and pretty for all my storage.

Whether it's glitter in pretty shaker jars, 
or wood bowls to hold extra crystals for projects, I want everything to feel beautiful.

It makes me happy.
I'll add more to that aspect when I find pieces that work.

I am using an old vanity for my sewing table now.

Before, I had a small plastic folding table that I added a skirt to.  
It was cute, and it worked for me at the time, but what wasn't working was how bouncy that table would get when I went into high gear on my sewing machine!

This is much sturdier, and I love the chippy look.  
I bought it from a vendor at Aunt Bee's House, and the look and colors of the vanity were just perfect for what I wanted.
I love being able to hang fun mementos and special notes on it.
I also have a few of my grandmother's sewing items.
She is the one who got me started sewing, and it's nice to look around as I'm working and feel her influence here.

The minty green desk was a recent addition - mostly as an extra table top and additional storage.
I made it into a central work station for the types of projects I do.
It allows a lot more room- even with it being an island- than the oversized drafting table.

I know this is totally nerdy, but can I tell you how excited I was to find this old school paper cutter?!
It is so much nicer and quicker than hand cutting with scissors for projects.

The crates are from my father in law's farm.  
They stand in for a former set of (not cute) plastic bins.
I like the rustic touch they add to the space, as well as the sentimental aspect.

Speaking of wood crates, I added in a little spot for Bella to hang out with me in here.
She follows me wherever I go.  It's a nice soft, fluffy bed for her while I work.

I was going to try and make a little four poster bed out of a bench, but I found this crate at an antique sale and had to get it.
Hunt is my maiden name.
I wasn't planning on making it into a dog bed when I bought it, but it all came together, and it's perfect.  
She really does like it, although sometimes it's still so new to her, that she has to be reminded she can use it.
I just stuffed some old pillow forms into the inside and wrapped a piece of Minky fabric over it.

My fabric stash has all been reorganized by color and is staying neat so far.

I went through and got rid of 5 bags of fabric that I had been holding on to for too long, or just wasn't part of my look anymore.  
A friend of mine was happy to take it off my hands!

My mail packaging station is just a simple table with wrapping paper, a postal scale, and all my little supplies I use.

Recycled packing materials are underneath and ready for me to grab and stuff as needed.

The closet in this room is really deep- it's great, but it was such wasted space with extra mish mash of stuff that was hard to get to.
Now it holds seasonal decor, Etsy products, and storage bins.

Other than the organizational aspect of this room, I wanted the decor to be items that make me smile and feel great.
Vintage paper lanterns.

Sparkly banners that remind me of when I started.
Fabrics that are sentimental and pretty.

Little pieces of my family that make my heart melt.

There's always going to be parts of this space that will have a wish list...

Wood floors.
Cool character pieces that are functional.
But it's definitely working more for me now than it was.

I learned a lot from working in and developing this space over time.  
I think that's the best advice I can give on creating your own personal creative space.

How you use it.

Where you use it and what times of day you work in it.
What you need from it.
What kinds of creative projects you use it for.
Paper crafting?

Make it work for you!

xo Denise

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Nov 3, 2014

Recap of The Farmhouse Show Fall 2014

Good morning, friends!
The Farmhouse Show has come and gone, and I had a great time, but am totally wiped out.
Shortly after we set up my space I got sick, so I've been running on low energy ever since.  

I wanted to give you a virtual tour of my booth from this year, so here we go!

I was very excited to have a new look to my space, and here it is:

This year, I did 5 shows and decided that I wanted to have a regular set up so I wasn't reinventing my look every single time.  
It's a challenge in itself to put all the product together in a way that looks nice and is easy to shop.  

Even though the idea of having my own brick and mortar shop sounds romantic, I know that at this point in my life, I would not enjoy the day to day business of running my own shop.  
I set out to create a booth "look" that would look like what I would want if I had my own shop space.
Sort of a European boutique.

I purchased some French doors and painted them black, added some window boxes to the base and made little striped awnings out of Ikea products.
The awning pop out frame is from an Ikea drying rack, and the fabric (now discontinued) is also from there.
Although I prefer real boxwood, they are not cheap, and the idea of buying fresh boxwood for every event made me decide to use faux.  
These are also from Ikea, and I can store them and reuse easily.

I bought the vintage red Hawthorne bike at a barn sale this spring, and it's been a nice yard decoration while I waited to use it.  
I added this little basket and made a pom pom garland for the front of it.  
I always keep a stack of brown paper presents for decorating at the holidays, so I added them to the back of the bike too. 
My inspiration came from a window display from Free People
I forgot to add some fun streamers, but hopefully I can add those on here soon.

Come on in, I'll show you around!

I really, really, really loved this vintage chalkboard.  
I would have kept it if I could have found a good spot for it in my house.

I think this is the 5th Tom Thumb cash register I've found and sold this year! 
They are always so cute.

Normally I don't do repeats of previous unique projects, but this time I had a couple at the show.
This rusty drip pan was a project I did for one of my very first vintage markets, and I couldn't resist doing it again.
I lettered it with Catch of the Day - Please take a Number and added little numbered magnets.

I never got a chance to photograph this awesome 10 drawer dresser for the blog.
It did get a brief teaser photo on my Instagram, but here it is now.  
And the picture is totally crummy. 

 This was a huge score, and one that I just couldn't decide whether or not to let go of.  
It didn't sell, and I'm kinda glad about that, because I'm hoping to do a swapper-roo in the family room with this piece.  
It's just so cool.

It required some major clean up and some prayers that black marker would clean off of it.
Even though it has all those amazing brass label pulls, the bachelor that previously owned it thought it would be much easier to write all the drawer contents right on to the drawers.

I don't paint everything! 

This super cool rolling cart was something I had built for the show.
I'm at the point now where it was worth it to me to hire someone to do it for me rather than have the project sit in my garage for months, and I'm not making any money on it while it languishes.

I found the wheel base at the same barn sale that I got the vintage bike from.  
I gave an inspiration photo to the carpenter, and he did an amazing job building it.  
It was made from reclaimed salvage wood, and had a great farmhouse / weathered look. 
 I also added some zinc handles to the sides.

It didn't sell at the Farmhouse Show, but I took it down yesterday to my space at Aunt Bee's House, and it sold within an hour and a half of me dropping it off!
woo hoo!

I also bought these wood arrows from a local craftsperson.  

I really believe in supporting people who make handmade items. 
I'm always up front about re-selling the items, or buying from their wholesale product line.
I had a bad experience several years ago when I was a newbie, and it's prompted me to now give an opportunity to others that I wish I'd had when I was starting out.

I can't do everything myself, and like to reach out to people who do what I can't, or don't have the time to do.  
The candles that I sell and pieces like these arrows are a great way to support other families or moms, and they make money too.

I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour of my booth at the Farmhouse Show!  
Thank you so much to everyone who came out - I'm always so appreciative of your support!

I'm looking forward to the holidays and some much needed rest.  
And I am so excited to hopefully have a few more home decor posts between now and the end of the year!

Talk to you soon.

xo Denise

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