Do you love going to farmer’s markets as much as I do? This season, The Log Home Kitchen decided to become a vendor and made their first debut at the local farmer’s market.
If you’re going to spend time making a special treat, why not have the perfect dish to show it off? I’ve started repurposing my odds and ends plates and candlestick holders that I don’t use anymore. Maybe you have some extras taking up valuable cupboard space. Before you toss them in your next Spring yard sale, think about the beautiful and functional stands you can make.
Super easy and affordable DIY dessert pedestals.
If you don’t have any in your stash, check out your local thrift stores. You’d be amazed at how many mismatched pieces there are at practically giveaway prices. From 50 cents to a few dollars, you can glean some fabulous pieces that suite your style and taste. It’s even worth it to check out antique stores. Sometimes a lone plate may have been sitting for so long that the dealer will give you a fair price.
Do you love to land a great find at a great price? I certainly do. It’s in my blood. Searching for valuable, sought after collectibles that I personally enjoy having is one of my favorite hobbies.
With a few minutes to kill before an appointment while out-of-town recently, I decided to stop in at a second hand store I frequent when in the area. While taking a quick walk-through, my eyes gravitated toward an area in the back, and low and behold…
Five pieces in excellent condition. Five dollars. For all five. I picked up some Franciscan for a song.
This is Franciscan Ware china. Finding the highly sought after pattern called “Desert Rose” in a thrift store is highly unusual. Even more so when the pieces have stamps from the original California factory. So when I saw a stack of wide-rimmed soup bowls sitting on the floor next to worn out tupperware, I almost fainted.
Lately, I’ve been on a vintage bottle kick. As in very old bottles. A few weeks ago I visited an antique shop I frequently check out. The shopkeeper knows me and lets me in on any new merchandise that’s been brought in. As I meandered about, an interesting piece shimmered with light from the corner of my eye. It was an old medicinal bottle of sorts. As I read the raised glass labeling, it pretty much spoke for itself:
THE RELIABLE OLD-TIME PREPARATION FOR HOME USE
PREPARED BY DR PETER FAHRNEY & SONS CO, CHICAGO, ILL. U.S.A.
As in a laxative tonic. This was a very common concoction used in the day. I gently ran my fingertip around the top and bottom edges to look for signs of damage. With not a chip to be found and the original cap intact, I whisked it up to the counter so no one else could lay claim. It was a single purchase for the day that made me click my heels. On the drive home, the perfect use for it popped in my head.
Some may call it luck. Being at the right place at the right time. Some may think there’s a special skill involved in landing a great find. I say it’s a little bit of both, especially when my eyes were drawn to this pristine milk glass rolling pin from the roaring 20’s.
There must be some history behind it.
A great find indeed.
It was one of those moments that after I spotted it, I looked around for hidden cameras, or to see if anyone else saw what I saw. I thought no. way.
Most of us have, or have had, a Bundt pan in our culinary repertoire at some point in time. Unless you have an affliction to baking. In any event, as fate would have it, I stumbled upon one of the originals. I mean an original Bundt pan. As in, made in the early 1950’s by Nordic Ware.
Made of heavy cast aluminum, this plum has stoically weathered the years. One can only imagine how many times it’s been in and out of ovens from who knows where, not to mention what’s been baked in it.
Manufactured in Minneapolis, this is one of the first to be produced. Notice the raised stamps and lettering? After all of these years, it remains in excellent condition. There isn’t a dent in it, maintaining it’s original fluted design.
It was tucked down in the corner of an old display crate sitting on the floor at a vendor booth in Stevensville, Montana. A day jaunt with a friend landed us at a charming antique mall that once served as a creamery.
The end of Summer is rapidly approaching. It was time for a last hurrah to make a fresh, fruity something with end-of-season berries.
Since I’ve been baking so many pies, I decided to turn to a rustic fruit danish for a change, using a traditional sweet roll dough.
I’m all about simple, and this was pretty simple to pull together. If you’ve ever baked cinnamon rolls, you can do this! If you haven’t, I’ll guide you with a few pointers to disspell any fears you might be harboring about yeast. The fact is, I was a total yeast-ophobe for years. I was paralyzed when it came to yeast. Feelings of failure errupted before I even attempted to work with it.
At the end of August each year, I’ve been going to a small county fair in western Montana to take in the exhibits of the talented community, and…. to attend the 4-H Poultry Auction. Since the flock has been dwindling, I thought I would head up to see what breeds were being showcased that might catch my eye.
Fifty miles up the road, I decided to take a spontaneous detour as my self-talk convinced me to wait until next Spring to order some chicks of the breed I really wanted. Besides, I only had the day, and I had heard about a flea market of sorts in a quaint little town further to the north.
Okay, I’ll cut to the chase. This is what I unearthed amongst the rows and rows of “stuff.” An old KitchenAid stand mixer manufactured over fifty years ago.
She runs like a Swiss clock. The motor hums along at high speed without missing a beat. At 200 watts of power, she’ll be perfect for whipping up cake batters and brownies.
A treasure seeker I am, and you never know what types of antiquities I might run across that make me go “Aha!” I have the perfect use for that!
It didn’t take more than a few seconds to figure out what I would do with this old pail, so I clutched it in my hand to make sure it wouldn’t get away (even though I was the only soul in the store besides the shopkeeper).
It’s so much fun reinventing items from the past to serve a purpose in the present. Take for instance this old lard bucket. How fitting for the kitchen? The utensil holder I’d been using kept tipping every time I grabbed something out of it. There was just too much top weight to keep it steady. It’s always been at the back of my mind to find another vessel to keep all of those spoons and spatulas from toppling over.
If you love fresh cut flowers like I do, but don’t have a vase to put them in, you can still feast your eyes and senses with their beauty and fragrance in your own home. You just have to think outside of the box. So many times I’m faced with the dilemma of not having something readily available to serve a particular purpose. Sometimes it can be frustrating, yet there’s the magic of discovery when I start looking around and find exactly what I want, if not better than what I thought I had to have.
Case in point.
Late Spring yielded a bumper crop of delphiniums. With the weather warming up, there’s nowhere for new flowers to shoot off from the plants unless I cut the ones in bloom off. This is a good practice anyway if you want to have a constant profusion of color in your garden.
Now, I have a lot of clear glass and crystal vases that hold petite bouqets. But for these giants, I have nothing to hold them. Or so I thought. As I wandered around the yard trying to find something that would work, there it was on the ground. A fantastic old galvanized watering can in great condition to hold water! I hadn’t seen that thing in several years. Hubs had confiscated it from me to use elsewhere, and left it underneath a pine tree. Lucky for me it showed up again like a shiny penny.
It turned out to be the perfect solution. Had I not had the need to figure out a holding vessel for these beauties, I would have never thought of using an old pail or bucket. But it couldn’t be better, or have more charm.
A simple old watering can. Charm indeed.
So who needs a fancy vase anyway? Barney approves.
The old shoe of fourteen years had to jump up on the picnic table to see what I was up to. He happens to love flowers. And catnip. And his mom.
It can be so much fun, and so rewarding, to find alternative uses for things that are right under our nose. We just have to get a little creative and think in a non-traditional sense. It seems that whenever I do this there’s usually a fabulous outcome I would have never thought of otherwise. That’s called living authentically. Finding that uniqueness in yourself and the world around you.
So get out there and cut some flowers, or pick some up at the local marketplace. Find a container that’s out of the ordinary. It will make you smile.
Happy weekend everyone!
Isn’t this beautiful?
I’m referring to the cake stand, not the cake. Though, the cake is a beaut too. And is even more delicious than it looks even with it’s regal presentation. I’ll share that with everyone a little later.
It’s no secret that I adore Fenton art glass. This particular piece is called a milk glass hobnail footed cake plate, and was produced in the early 1970’s. It has a pie crust rim, which some refer to as ruffled. The Fenton Art Glass Company built a factory in Williamstown, West Virginia in 1906. The first pieces were created in 1907. The rest is history. They produced incredible designs. During the Great Depression and World War II, they made more practical items, such as tableware and bowls.
This catch was made in the 1970’s. I know this because that’s when the company started stamping their logo on the bottom of their pieces. In the 1980’s, they placed a number 8 under the name on the stamp to identify it as having been made in that decade. The same was true for those produced in the 1990’s. So when you’re out looking at these pieces, this might help give you an idea as to when the item was made. As for anything without a stamp, you might have to do some homework in figuring out what time period it was produced. There were different colors, patterns, and methods used over the years. Everything from tableware to vases, perfume bottles, lanterns, candy dishes and decanters were presented in spectacular variations.
To get a good idea as to the multitude of things that came out of the factory, go to the library or your local book store and peruse the collection of books that have been published just on Fenton art glass alone. I have a few in my personal collection that I refer to from time to time to keep myself familiarized with the identifiers and values for many of the pieces. This comes in handy when one catches my eye when treasure hunting.
I fell in love with this cake stand when I saw it. It was in pristine condition. Look at the hobnail detailing underneath the plate. No one would usually notice this unless it was placed on a high table or shelf.
Now for the story as to how I came to having acquired it. I was in western Montana one day checking out antique and thrift shops. There seem to be one or two new ones popping up from time to time, so it’s always fun to see what’s new.
As I glanced down a side street while driving the main highway, I saw a woman standing at the curb with piles of “stuff” stacked on the sidewalk. She was nervously pacing. If nothing else, I thought I would be a good samaritan and see if there was anything I could do for her. It turned out the poor thing was waiting for a truck to come and take away all of her collected treasures to the auction house.
I gasped. Thinking quickly, I asked her if I could take a look at her things, and she kindly gave me permission to go inside to look at what remained in the little storefront. A huge dining table was stacked with all kinds of beautiful dishes. The real gem stood in the middle of it all. The gorgeous Fenton cake stand. I carefully plucked it from the pile and asked her how much she would take for it. I clutched it with a death grip and handed her a twenty. She was happy. I was ecstatic!
This is what makes me love scouting around for treasures. The adrenaline rush. The thrill of victory.
As for that delectable Cream Cheese Pound Cake? You’ve got to try it.
The recipe can be found on my trusted Allrecipes website. Go here to get it. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/cream-cheese-pound-cake-iii/detail.aspx. Be sure to read my review. I used cake flour that made the texture smooth and velvety, and almond extract for flavor that sent it over the top.
Have a great weekend everyone!
The collection of cookbooks that I have amassed over the years continues to grow. As do other collections of “things” that hold a great deal of meaning to me. And not necessarily the type of meaning one would embrace from family heirlooms that have been passed on through the generations. So many times, when rummaging through the auction house, estate sales, or thrift stores, I come across true treasures that were once coveted by a person or family I never knew.
It often saddens me to see these collections. Because they belonged to someone. Questions and scenarios rush through my head. What happened? Were there any surviving family members or close friends? Did they have any children? Why on earth have these landed here? Didn’t anyone close to this person want these? Did they have anyone at their side when they crossed over? I go on tilt mode for a brief period time, conjuring up all kinds of scenarios.
The bottom line is they’re discards from someone’s life. Banished to the piles of second-hand goods that get haphazardly rummaged through by strangers. The mere thought makes me cringe. Why? Because I care. I care about the fact that these things were once an integral part of someone else’s life.
The other day I sat down for awhile to look through some cookbooks for a particular recipe. I decided to look at the older “vintage” ones I had collected that would most likely have what I was looking for, albeit with different ingredients and serving portions. My, have things changed over the decades.
It’s such fun to see how recipes were published in “the day.” Like this Betty Crocker cookbook from 1961.
The illustrations were simple, yet they told a story. I could spend hours going through these old gems.
Many times, church groups and ladies auxiliaries would publish pamphlet-style cookbooks for fund raising and charities. They still do in modern times, just differently. Again, they were simple.
And you’ve gotta love those little tin card file holders. There were several cards I plucked from the Pillsbury Recipe Box to remind me of some dishes I don’t want to forget to make.
As I replaced them back in the bookcase, I looked at my own personal collection of cookbooks all lined up on the shelves. It got me thinking. “Where will they end up when I’m gone from this earthly plane?”
I suppose that’s out of my hands, as with the treasures I’m privileged to now own that once belonged to someone else. Then that thought got me thinking again (I do this a lot).
Maybe these old throwaways were meant to land where they did. In some divine way, I was drawn to them, to take care of them. Because if they were to end up in the wrong hands, they could have been completely destroyed. That would be horrible.
Now that I’ve had a chance to look at this subject with a fresh perspective, I’ll think twice before I cringe the next time I see boxes and boxes of antique heirlooms up for grabs. Who knows? They might just be meant to be mine for the taking.
So the next time you’re looking at something that catches your eye at a picking, hold it in your hands a bit. Think about what it might have meant to someone. Maybe it’s supposed to be with you, and you’ll end up loving it for many years to come. Just as they did many years ago.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Any time I’m in the city for appointments, I never miss an opportunity to stop in to at least one of my favorite variety stores. If for nothing else, to make a flying pass through the clearance aisle. Timing can be everything. This week, I caught the tail end of the Valentine’s Day blowout. The signs said 70% off everything that was left over. Yes, 70% off! Since I’m not one to drop a wad of cash on seasonal items before a particular holiday, I try to take advantage of the days after. It’s a great time to build on the arsenal of specialty pans I like to collect. Baking things in cutesy-shaped molds can bring a smile to someone, making them feel honored you took the time to create a little something special. But many of those things can be very expensive.
Yesterday, I scored. I just love it when that happens. Don’t you?
Check out this Nordic Ware cake pan. I thought this was so sweet. I’ll be able to make little heart-shaped cakes dipped in icing. I think an injection of something creamy inside would be a nice surprise for the recipient. Of course that’s about a year away.
So here’s what I love about these pans. They’re made tough. Built to last. Like a Chevy truck. With a little extra TLC, they can be handed down through the generations. And they’re so unique!
At least once a month, I have to go on what I call “A Day of Discovery” junket. Now, keep in mind that anything close that even resembles a “city” is at least 100 miles away. A small city, anyway. There’s a charming place I go to that’s on the other side of a mountain pass that takes me across the state line into Montana. It’s truly a “through the forest, over the mountains” to get there kind of drive. A breathtaking drive. There’s never a time I don’t witness Mother Nature at her best. American Eagles swoop across the river, fish pop in and out of the water, big-horn sheep graze on the roadside, as well as deer and elk. Depending on the time of year, there are a number of species I see that take my breath away. So I look forward to these little getaway days.
The destination on this particular jaunt was Hamilton. It’s littered with wonderful galleries, boutiques, thrift stores and antique shops. I absolutely love antiques. I’m always on the lookout for things that can be “re-purposed.” The more unique, the better my imagination gets carried away with itself.
I noticed some little white porcelain dishes on a shelf marked 40% off in a consignor’s booth. Hmm….I thought. They were quite interesting. Especially with “Coors USA” stamped on each one of them. As I stood there fondling them (which I tend to do as my wheels are turning, “should I or shouldn’t I buy it?”), the light bulb came on. They would make the most perfect bowls for “a pinch of this, a pinch of that!” So I bought them.
What do you think?
They’re called evaporating dishes. During the years of prohibition, Coors turned his brewery into a cement manufacturing plant, and also a plant that fashioned scientific and chemical products made from porcelain. So these were used in lab research and development. The Coors Porcelain Company, created solely to get the company through prohibition, grew into one of the world’s leading industrial and technical manufacturers, known today as CoorsTek.
Betcha didn’t know that. But then again, maybe you did. In which case you’re probably an expert on history and keep abreast of world affairs. Sigh.
You’ll be seeing these in upcoming recipe photos. They’re perfect to pre-measure seasonings and spices. I like to be organized when I cook. Having everything at the ready is essential.
They really are unique and kind of cute. Do you have any special finds you’d like to tell us about?