For my mother, dear friends and old and new, the woman in the waiting room, the names and faces of cancer I will never know, the growing numbers of survivors and thrivers, and the walkers and runners uniting together in pink solidarity- this one’s for you.
The architectural aspects of hotels and motels fascinates me. From the Ritz-Carlton to Route 66, I marvel at the history, architecture, design, interiors of grand hotels.
One of my favorite historical landmark hotels, Hotel Bentley, is a hometown legend.
The Hotel Bentley is a stunning testament to opulent grand foyers, crystal chandeliers and marble staircases. Notable guests in its 104 year old history include Major General George Patton, Lieutenant Colonel Omar Bradley, Colonel Dwight David Eisenhower, and Henry Kissinger.
Be still my heart!
When the last owner decided to close the Hotel Bentley, I was able to acquire a few of the items to add to my collection of hotel silver and china. Making welcomed additions to my collection is an etched seltzer bottle, a lithograph from the hotel art collection, and a charger from the dining room china pattern. I do love a good hotel china charger.
Even with non-smoking laws and policies in place, matchbooks remain a highly collectible item. Las Vegas hotels never die, they just implode. Fortunately, the classics remain alive and well via a well guarded matchbook collection.
Power outages, fire pits, birthday candles or barbecue grills need not apply- these vintage matchbooks are for admiring purposes only.
I view antique plates and bone dishes as small pieces of art full of history, provenance and color.
Coming in as the number one thing I like to collect is frogs. The association with frogs goes all the way back to the mid 70’s. Ions ago, don’t ‘cha know. When the majority of mothers around the neighborhood discovered a great summer babysitter activity for the neighborhood kids, the word spread like softened butter.
Our local community theater was sponsoring a summer workshop culminating in a off, off, off Broadway production at workshops end. The play was Fairy Frog Superstar, and yours truly won the part of the Fairy Frog. A future theater star was not born, but my love of all things frog was. It only takes one look at a frog for my thoughts to go back to the summer of frog.
Lightly spray bottom and sides of crock-pot stone liner.
Peel and slice apples, placing in large mixing bowl. Cover apples with lemon juice and toss to coat. Add cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and black pepper to apples. Toss to coat. Place the coated apples in crock-pot liner.
In a medium mixing bowl combine milk, softened butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and ½ cup of the Bisquick. Spoon over apples.
Top with raisins and pecans. Mix remaining Bisquick with the brown sugar. Using a fork, cut the cold butter into Bisquick and brown sugar, forming “crumbs”. Sprinkle the mixture on top.
Cover and cook on low 3½ -4 hours or until the apples are tender. Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream.
Allow me to introduce you to the image that got the seasonal home decorating ideas flowing a couple of weeks ago. The dark wood of the bar stool legs, the predominant natural wood beams, the neutral color palette, and the ironstone vegetable dish in the cupboard collectively turned my thoughts to fall.
Thoughts of fall reminded me it was time to begin putting together ideas for a fall tablescape. The barley twist bar stools reminded me of a pair of vintage barley twist candlesticks I know I have somewhere. The quest to locate the barley twist candlesticks turned up empty however, it lead me to the Wedgwood candlesticks that worked out better in the long run. Isn’t it funny how an image or an item in that image can initiate the decorative snowball effect?
Textures, finishes, and color palettes evoke thoughts of warmth, coziness, and hominess- qualities so closely associated with cold weather days and nights. Seasonal home decorating ideas often are inspired by the senses.
In a few months from now I’ll be writing about how I can’t wait for spring flowers to bloom, summer colors, and there’s nothing better than the taste of barbecue. For now, I’m looking forward to the first really cool night and the feel of a down comforter. Also on the fall treats list is the delicious scent of cloves and oranges throughout the kitchen and dining room, and the highly anticipated first taste of a pumpkin spice latte.
Sweet potatoes took center stage this first weekend of fall 2012. This recipe for Sweet Potato Spice Bread Muffins is a slight variation of the original recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.
After recently purchasing a scalloped square brownie pan and a crisp fall air on tap for this weekend, I figured there was no time or recipe like the present to give the pan a sweet potato spice bread muffins try.
Sweet Potato Spice Bread Muffins
2cups all-purpose flour
1teaspoon baking powder
½teaspoon baking soda
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼teaspoon ground cloves
¼teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4cup butter, cut up
2 cups shredded fresh unpeeled sweet potato
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Allow eggs and buttermilk to stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
***Oh, shoot! I don’t have any buttermilk solution*** Add 1 ½ teaspoons white vinegar to ½ cup milk.
Lightly coat a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan or 12 cup muffin or square pan with nonstick cooking spray; coat lightly with flour. Set aside.
In bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, cloves, and nutmeg; set aside.
Stir sugar and softened butter together until well combined.
Add eggs (on at a time), buttermilk, and vanilla. Whisk until mixed together. Next, slowly add dry ingredients mixture. Whisk until combined. Fold in the sweet potato.
Spoon into prepared pan and spread evenly.
Bake 65 to 70 minutes for baking pan – 35 to 40 minutes for muffin or square pan or until top springs back when lightly touched and split in top appears dry. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from pan. Makes 12 servings.
Planning a fall tablescape is both a labor of love and one of the best parts of the fall home decorating season. Blending the best of the season can carry the theme through to a harvest and a Thanksgiving tablescape.
Natural elements provide a canvas easy to work with, color that only nature can produce, and the opportunity to treasure hunt close to home outdoors as well as indoors.
That which nature doesn’t provide, Hobby Lobby, Tractor Supply, eBay, and my brother the avid goose hunter does!
A savvy tablescaper keeps an eye out for future holiday table setting ideas and clearance sales from holidays past. Patience and an additional 40% off clearance sale at Dillard’s secured the six new dinner plates, dinner napkins, and hammered copper napkin rings for my fall tablescape.
Burlap sandbags from Tractor Supply make casually chic, virtually indestructible and very affordable placemats.
To know me is to know I love the opportunity to show and display items from my antique plate and creamer collection. The Prussia Royal Rudolstadt bread and butter plate is a find from our last antiques inventory shopping trip.
It’s a tad too early for the fall Ginkgo leaves so I improvised by using my Robert Lee Morris Ginkgo leaf pendant.
It’s odd how decorative accessories that normally would not be paired together do, in fact, create the perfect look.
When Dave the Builder brought the Wedgwood candlesticks home from the antique shop I was not feeling it. But wait. After careful reconsideration it dawned on me that the steel gray goose feathers in the centerpiece cast an elegant shade of Wedgwood blue all their own.
“A September to remember. An October full of splendor.
Soup, chili or gumbo weather is year round for the Places In The Home gang. I have friends and family who refuse to eat gumbo unless there’s been a frost on the ground, won’t go near chili unless it is well, chilly and insist soup should only be consumed in the dead of winter.
That logic reminds me of the it is just too hot to go to Vegas in the late summer argument. My dad, a seasoned Vegas traveler, is quick to reply with his stock answer. “Friend, where I’m at in Vegas (inside the casinos) it’s a 365 day year round cool.” Works for me!
On that note, I say turn the A/C thermostat to 65 and put the soup, chili or gumbo on to cook.
And while you’re at it, whip up this super easy, satisfying and delicious recipe for cheesy corn cornbread as a culinary complement.