Friday, April 6, 2018

A Taste of West Virginia ~ Traveling Tote Friends


The Traveling Tote Girls have teamed up
to share something tasty from our own town or region.

Most of you know my darling friend, Rita @ Panoply.
She is one of the Traveling Tote Girls 
and was my swap partner for our 
Taste of Our Town Swap.
In addition to our shared passion for MacKenzie-Childs,
Rita and I share a love of gardening, antiques, travel,
cooking, and setting a pretty table.
Rita lives in Charleston, WV, and sent 
 me some delicious treats from J. Q. Dickinson.

J.Q.Dickinson is America's oldest working salt farm
that harvests salt by hand from an ancient ocean trapped 
below the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia.
A jar of Ramp salt gives the true flavor of Appalicia
and is much appreciated by "the chef" who does the cooking here.

A decorative egg shaped box contained a jar of 
yummy caramel sauce, of which I've treated myself
to each time I've had a little ice cream.
YUM YUM! 

Pawpaw Butter!
I'd never heard of Pawpaw Butter,
but let me tell you, it makes a perfect topping 
on my morning biscuits, tasting a bit like mango and banana.
I learned that Pawpaw fruit is native to eastern 
United States and Canada, and is a staple in West Virginia.
Look for a future post devoted to Pawpaw.

Included in my gift package
were a Junior Leage Cookbook, 
MOUNTAIN MEASURES, first published in 1974
and the February 2018 issue of Southern Living.

I spent a recent morning reading through many of the recipes,
though Rita had already earmarked a recipe from the
cookbook that was featured in the February Southern Living.
Shaker Lemon Pie

For the crust, I opened my Houston Junior League Cookbook
for my favorite go to recipe, "No Fail Pie Crust."

Shaker Lemon Pie is as easy as 1, 2, 3!
Simply take two lemons and slice them into super thin slices.
Yep, you use the entire lemon, rind and all.
Just be certain to remove the seeds!
Macerate the lemon slices in 2 cups of sugar.
I left mine macerating over night.  
Next beat 4 eggs and fold them into the lemon mixture.
Pour this into a pie crust, top it with another crust,
and bake it for 15 minutes at 450, before reducing the heat 
to 350 for an additional 30 minutes.
You can find printable recipes on the web.

 When there is food involved, this girl
isn't far from the action.

 I admit I, too, was eager for this pie to come out of the oven.
I'd never had Shaker Lemon Pie!

 To reward my efforts and to take a break from spring gardening,
I fixed a little afternoon treat to enjoy on the sun porch.

 Oh, my!  What a treat it was!
Wow!  This pie, with its sharp tangy flavor 
and chewy texture, is totally addicting!

It's like eating 
marmalade out of a jar!

 To quench my thirst, Me and the Bees Lemonade 
was the perfect beverage.
Go here to read about Mikaila Ulmer
Austin's young entrepreneur,
who has taken her lemonade idea and turned 
it into a thriving business.

 On my way back inside, I couldn't resist adding a 
petite bouquet of Summer Phlox from my garden.
The pinks are perfect with my MacKenzie-Childs ceramics.

I want to thank Rita for bringing some sunshine into our home.
The Chef and I have enjoyed and appreciated our
Taste of West Virginia!

Many thanks, dear friend!
Rita @ Panoply.
Click the links below to see the other swaps.
Patti at Pandora's Box and Emily at The French Hutch
Ricki Jill at The Sketchy Reader and Jackie at Purple Chocolat Home
Linda G at More Fun Less Laundry and Deb at Mountain Breaths
Linda P at Life and Linda and Jenna at The Painted Apron

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A Look Back for Inspiration



We are having Easter brunch at our friends' home,
so I'm not setting an Easter table.  
I pulled this post from the archives to offer a little inspiration
to those of you who are setting a table for Easter Sunday.

Redbuds are in full bloom around town
and our days are warming up with
bright sunshine and blue skies.
Spring has definitely arrived!

I recently found this chippy rabbit 
at an antique show.
 Antique cast iron Hubley garden rabbit 
circa late1800 to early 1900.

I cut some redbud branches and brought them in
to fill a large vintage ironstone pitcher.

A nest of hand-painted eggs painted
in the 80s and 90s by my friend, Nancy R.

An early Easter present!
Porcelain Plates and Mugs
BIA Cordon Bleu
From the aisles of Home Goods

Packaged in these
adorable storage boxes.

All became my creative muse 
as inspiration for
Easter Brunch ~ 2015.

I thought the bunny plates would pair perfectly with
 MacKenzie-Childs Taylor ceramics and
chargers in Ambiance Vintage Garden.

I'm not a matchy-matchy kind of girl.
When I first started buying these plates in the 1980s, 
I'd buy a single plate in a different pattern.
The whimsy of it all fits the MacKenzie-Childs esthetic.  
Click here to see another spring table 
with Taylor ceramics and
to read about the different patterns.

One thing I liked about the box of plates
was that each plate is a different spring color.
Don't they play well with the Taylor patterns?

Cute matching mugs
are perfect for tea or coffee
or soup or dessert.

Several years ago, MacKenzie-Childs
sold mini compotes in the various Taylor designs.
I'm certainly happy that I added some to my cupboard
because now they've been discontinued.
They are perfect for ice cream and individual desserts.

Or as a nest for special 
Easter cookies.

 With all the colors going on at each place setting,
I decided my soft pink linen placemats
were a good choice along with our Sir Christopher Silver.



The ceramic bunny napkin rings were
from Sur La Table years ago,
but these cute gingham napkins can be
found at Pier I this season.

Nice quality woven gingham in pastels and
edged with a sweet little crocheted detail.

Springtime calls for 
bees and bunnies, don't you think?

Here you are ~
A springtime table ready for
Easter brunch right after the egg hunt.

Easter will be here in
a few short days!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Tales of the Traveling Tote #14 ~ Stickworks

Welcome to Tales of the Traveling Tote # 14

Home Bodies, that's what we've been!
With the push of the holidays in December 
and the bitter cold of our January and Februay days this year, 
Miss Merri Mac and I have not ventured far 
from the warmth of the cozy fire in our living room.
What to share for an adventure when one is
curled up on the sofa reading, stitching, or napping?

How about filling Miss Merri Mac 
with sticks for a little stitck adventure?

Those of you who follow Hyacinths 
know of my love of nature, gardens, and parks.  
Austin has many natural areas with hike and bike trails, 
creeks, and rivers, some of which I've shared in the past.

You might recall one of Miss Merri Mac's 
early adventures to Zilker Park here.

Shoal Creek flows through the heart of Austin 
where it empties into Lady Bird Lake.
Though it definitely shows the stress of urbanization, it also
offers respits of natural beauty with city hike and bike trails and parks, including Austin's oldest and much beloved Pease Park.

What's this you ask?
It's a recent Stickworks sculpture right
here in Austin's Pease Park.

Some of you may know of the internationally 
aclaimed sculptor, Patrick Dougherty.
He has created over 280 of these organic outdoor sculptures made from twigs and sticks and sapplings gathered from the area in which he constructs these large scale structures.
Click Here for an fascinating interview with Patrick Doughtery about the process of creating Yippee Ki Yay.

Yippee Ki Yay here in Pease Park is constructed of
Roosevelt Weed, Ligustrum, and Ash, all sourced from 
the hill country west of Austin.

  A Spanish cathedral was the inspiration 
for this patricular sculpture.  According to Mr. Dougherty,
"The surfaces are a bit rude and raw like the terrain of the hill country where the material was gathered.  I imagined cowboys herding cows through the mesquite trees and decided on a cowboy saluation, Yippee Ki Yay!"

 There are five of these large "rooms" that create a
delightful maze to wander.  As you can see,
the 12-14 feet height dwarfs me and Miss Merri Mac.


Photo Credit, Margie Gaudin
The sculptures are intended to be interactive,
both in the construction with local volunteers who helped
to buid the sculpture along side Mr. Doughtery and his son, Sam
and in the enjoyment as visitors young and old experience

Yippee Ki Yay first hand.

It's heartwarming to see children and parents chasing each other through the stitck passageways, sounds of glee echoing through the 
park as families come to see Mr. Doughtery's latest work.

Photo Credits Clockwise From Top Left
Daniel Finchum, Shannon Clark, Bob Joy, Pierre Charbonneau
As you can see in the sampling above, 
you must go visit Patrick Dougherty's site and 
view the distinct sculptures he has created round the globe.  
You can find an interesting article here on the process of constructing Yippee Ki Yay.

Thank you for joining me again for Tales of the Traviling Tote.
Miss Merri Mac and I will leave you with a touch of spring.
Iceland Poppies from a local flower farm, Grassdale Farm.
Read below for the details of the latest giveaway,
MacKenzie-Childs soap dish 
with the Beekman 1802 Goatmilk Soap.


Our Traveling Tote Group is pleased to welcome
Ricki Jill and Countes DeMonet @ The Sketchy Reader
Jackie and Miss Madi K @ Purple Chocolat Home
Lea and Miss Scarlett @ Cici's Corner 
Please come along and travel with us.  Just click the link to join each of the Traveling Tote Adventures. 
Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths 
Emily with Miss Courtney Childs The French Hutch
Patti with Miss Kenzie @ Pandora's Box
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron
Linda G with Miss Poppy @ More Fun Less Laundry
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
Rita with Miss Luna C Panoply 
Jackie and Miss Madi K Purple Chocolat Home
Ricki Jill and Countess De Monet @ The Sketchy Reader
Lea and Miss Scarlett @ Cici's Corner