Thursday, September 26, 2019

Train Your Eye

" All it takes is one object to inspire romance... Lorrie S. LeBeaux"

There is a wonderful feeling you get in your spirit,  when you find treasures that speak to your soul. I immediately feel they belong "home" with me. Treasures do not have to be costly; they are valuable to you. Like the wonderful designer Bunny Williams says all the time, " train your eye..."

My new girl, "Duchess Lorrie Jane" arrived today from way "across the pond."  I had to give her a name that was befitting to her. She came from England, so she is a Duchess and she belongs to this African American woman who has endured and survived just as she has. The difference is she is about 177 years old, circa 1842 to 1850 and I am not telling my age!

 I have cleaned, sanitized and sanitized again to ensure she is able to serve coffee, her intended job. My heart could not be still when I finally saw her, and I actually "peeped" at her throughout the evening. She looks like she is a million bucks, but she is not, she is just "regal" and "classy" and ready to serve.

 I need to do a trial run of having a cup of coffee from her full bodied beautiful 177 year old self!  You just have to know in your spirit and in your pocketbook if something is meant for you. It just has to be that "match" that is meant to be. She is not "priceless" but she is worth everything to me.

I had to rest her on a cheese board, because she was "too hot" from the cleaning process. But she cooled down and now she is just being her regal and classy self! I speak of her as a human, because I believe antiques have a life of their own. And if "cared for" they have a longer life than most human beings...

Her "pedigree" which is her mark.

James Dixon and Sons

I just sit and marvel about how something can be so beautiful,  and have served people for 177 years... I think that is why she is soo special to me.

 I have served people all of my life, and I continue to care for my son Evan. Evan just smiled to see me have soo much joy in my heart. Autism does not mean that a person does not understand "the world around them." And it warmed my heart that my big boy loved seeing me happy. Love is a "universal language."

 I think a cup of coffee and a banana walnut bread will "mingle" with the " duchess."

This sauce tureen is circa 1880's to 1896 Limoges. It seems to have been made for a store in New York prior to the turn of the century. I just love how antiques can "survive" may decades, and remain beautiful. And even though, I am not a big antique floral kind of chick, I really do love this sauce tureen. I lay in bed at night thinking of different sauces that will find a home in this tureen. 

And for some reason, whether it be something new, vintage or an antique, they all just seem to 
marry. They just seem to be able to get along,  despite their age differences, patterns and pedigrees. 

And in closing, an objects value is only as valuable as it is to you! For me it can come from any place, as long as it is beautiful and useful. 

I would love for you to leave a comment. 



Monday, September 23, 2019

The Daliance With The Past: Antique Collecting and African Americans

As an African American woman, oenophile, wine and food writer, interior design enthusiasts and a collector of  "culinary antiques",  I find myself wondering what my life would have been like during the times these objects were used....  I quickly stop wondering because it kills my "enthusiastic"  quest for knowledge,  and my love for searching for treasures of a bygone era.

 I only get things that I love,  and can actually use. My mindset is to look for beautiful things that were made in the late 1880's until the turn of the century and or up until the Art Deco period. It seems as if I am drawn to them. Maybe it is because life seemed more "civil" or maybe "gentile" at that moment in time. I do however appreciate "vintage" home things as well.

Vintage Wallace Silversmiths Silver plated Lion's head champagne wine bucket.

I may not have liked what was going on politically or socially for a person who looked like me, but the craftsmanship was exquisite at that time! "Beauty" and craftsmanship was the foremost a concern of the day,  as far as objects for the home. The Victorians believed in beauty, as well as utility. They had utensils for everything related to food,  and the serving of food.

Soup ladle circa 1889's. She looks soo young...

A Limoges sauce tureen circa 1800's. Sterling Cream ladle circa 1906.

A silver plated toast rack from England circa 1850-1889. I can not wait to make some toast and use my new found object. I am soo surprised how great these pieces look for their age... I say this all of the time, let me age like an antique!

An image of a portrait of a slave owner and his son, circa 1845 in New Orleans.

The past is always a part of who I am. I embrace my heritage and all that it entails, and I wear it like a coat of honor.  That is why I sometimes look at those objects and think, what would I be doing with them at the time they were being used in their youth... I would probably be serving my master, and now I serve my family and my friends with my treasures.

A lady from New Orleans circa 1800's.  This woman looks just like a lady I know living in New Orleans today. So, you see our past is a part of our present.

And a picture of a lady from New Orleans in the present, me... We are from the same place, but what was her life like back then, compared to how my life is now?  That is why I am soo proud of where I came from. The strength, faith and endurance of those before me,  is embodied in my DNA.

A sliver plated teapot circa 1890's. Her beauty has only gotten better with time.

I share these little treasures of mine because they are beautiful, useful and I hope that they may inspire others to find out what they are truly passionate about. I feel in order to have "joy: one has to be passionate about something. I love helping others in the small ways that I can, and I am quite passionate about being kind. Or passions can be from any genre of things to collect or how we feel about the world around us. But I say, " just be passionate about something!"

My dream is to travel to Paris and Tuscany. I love food, wine, antiques. Tuscany just speaks to my soul. 

I never really speak of what I do for anyone, even a stranger because I feel it "taints" my altruism. But there was a man in a wheelchair. He spoke to me outside of a wine shop. I usually do not entertain people who... well beg. But he was not "begging." Something came over me, it was like God wanted me to help this man. I had a ten dollar bill and two one's. I gave him the ten dollar bill. I just knew in my spirit it was the right thing to do... If I had had more, I would have given it to him. Being kind should be a part of our DNA, but sadly for many, it is not... 

Being kind is truly one of the things in life that is free. I shared this story because I want to promote awareness of the " human condition." We are not independent of just ourselves, but a part of the fabric that makes America great!

So, I create my own joy and try to inspire others along the way. I share tips, recipes, and videos because we learn from all of those mediums. 

I am waiting to make a pot of gumbo so I can use my 1880's ladle,  in my "to be determined age" of my Spode soup tureen. 

And my love of the romantic time of the early 1900's and watching the brief trailers for the movie, " Downton Abby " drew me to this lovely coffee pot. She has not gotten to me yet. She is from the United Kingdom. But her flower finial and gourd - like body reminded me of me... I am full just like her.

Collecting is something that happens over time. It is not free, so we have to sometimes save up and wait to get a treasure. I have gotten antiques for under ten dollars or sometimes less than that. 

Sometimes we are given things by relatives, and we should love them and use them. And we should never be afraid of using our good things, we have to remember they are just "things" and in most cases can be replaced. 

And to end my "dalliance with the past" I say to everyone, do not save things because they are the "good stuff." My dear friend Linda asked me, "Lorrie why do people give their things away for soo little?" I told her because relatives pass away and they are sold! So, enjoy those passed down items, and enjoy the things that will be antiques in a hundred years. 

This is a image of something I would love to have if I were rich. I saw it and said, "If I were rich, you would be mine!" I love champagne, cremants, cavas and all sparkling wines. She would be used every chance I could use her. 

Tip: You can find antiques for a few dollars on eBay, garage sales and at flea markets. Even auctions (which I have not had the pleasure to attend) is another way of procuring antiques. I think the value of an item is measured by how valuable it is to you...

An Antique Sterling Silver French 1800's Wine Chiller that can be yours for about $3,000.00. Again, I always say, I am not wealthy by far, but I am rich in my love for " all things home."

Art Nouveau Sterling Silver Wine Chiller which may have or have not sold for about six thousand dollars ( the above floral motif example). They say, " money can't buy you happiness." I say, "give me a chance to find out!"

And as a homage to my heritage, I share a video of a woman from New Orleans... me,  making my version of " Court Bouillon" which basically is a creole fish stew.  

I hope this post inspires you to express who you are in your daily lives. Living is a gift not afforded to all, so enjoy life to the fullest! I would love for you to leave comments. I try to post content that would be of interest to all of you. 

An image I found years ago of antique corkscrews. 

I will do a mini wine review soon! 

I want to wish my best friend Donna a happy birthday! Her birthday is today, and she is a "treasure" in my life that could never be replaced! She supports all that I do on this blog and my Facebook blog "All Things Home,"  Happy birthday Dee!



Saturday, September 21, 2019

Coffee Time

I am in love with the romance of Downton Abby! So when I saw this coffee pot, it had to be mine. I am awaiting its arrival from England as I write this post!

"Some of us love things and some of us love experiences; I love both..." Lorrie S. LeBeaux

These  pieces just seem to belong together. The sugar and creamer is Limoges and the coffee pot's pedigree is " to be determined upon inspection.".  I am not afraid of "marrying" pieces with one another. If I love it, then I perceive it to be beautiful!  I am looking for a tray to complete this coffee service. I will know if it is the right one when I "spy" it with my little old eyes. I like to remind all of you to give me a break with typos. My sight has some challenges these days, but I love sharing with all of you, so I press on.

Sometimes I get the feeling like I should be the "steward" of these vintage and antique pieces. I just feel "connections" with them, like they need to be with me. I also love " culinary" things that can be used. Tip: Check photos or items if present closely for cleanliness, because sometimes vintage or antiques can only be used for decor due to their internal condition.  I really do not like objects that have to be "babied!" They have to " roll with it" just like I do! 

" Just as I make a cup of coffee, I make my own joy in this life that I live..." Lorrie S. LeBeaux

And being a lover of a great cup of coffee, these pieces will be used by me a lot. I try hard to treat myself, as well as I have treated guests that have visited me from New Orleans. They love my "pampering" and I love it too! As a young lady in a food court in New Orleans told me many years ago, " Treat yourself, don't cheat yourself."   I never forgot her wonderful advice! 

I have several interior designers that speak to my "ideas" of all things home. Bunny Williams says, "train your eye." If you go to an expensive shop, one you can not afford a thing there,  you will gain something free, an education of what a "treasure" should look like. It kinda makes you go, ahh.... You immediately see connections and how things will relate to one another in your own personal spaces. Alex Papachristidis says, " everything you use should be beautiful!" And I could not agree with him more on that sentiment. It does not matter how little it costs or where you find it; if it is beautiful to you,  get it! 

When I prepare coffee or tea I prepare the pot by filling it with hot water. This heats up the pot and helps keep the hot beverage hot, at least for the time you need it to be hot. I heat up my cups like that for my morning coffee or a cup of tea. Life is stressful, so I have learned to "treat myself well", this helps me cope with my daily life, and it imparts a bit of joy in my day. 

I hope some of my posts inspire others to "treat themselves well." We do it for others so naturally, so we should do it for ourselves. Life is made to be lived, one day at a time...

Here is my " Special Coffee"  recipe. Try it in your special coffee pot or your special coffee cup. And try heating some water and letting your cup warm up, then dump the water and add your warmed milk, creamer or half and half,  and then your piping hot coffee. I promise you it will be a treat. 

I say this all of the time, " I am not rich in wealth ( I wish I was...., it would allow me to help others more), but I am rich in my love for "all things home." I hope you feel inspired to make this coffee and maybe a banana or pumpkin bread to welcome Fall!

Lorrie's Special Coffee

9 coffee scoops of coffee
8 cups of water
1 tablespoon of good vanilla extract
1 tablespoon good almond extract

Put coffee in in the coffee basket/filter. Add extracts over ground coffee.  Brew according to coffee pots instructions This makes the best specialty coffee for a fraction of the price. Serve black, sugar, sugar substitute and half and half. You may also top this coffee with whipped cream to make it even more decadent! 

Try this recipe with Splenda granulated sugar if you are watching your sugar intake. It bakes just like sugar and measures just like sugar. You can even make your own sugar free powdered by adding a cup of Splenda in your food processor along with a tablespoon of cornstarch. Pulse until it looks like powdered sugar. I like to save mine in and empty sugar free cool whip container, stored in a cool, dry place. 

I also " recycle" empty spice jars ( put them in the dishwasher to clean and remove the spice odors) and add the sugar free powdered sugar to dust over my baked goods.

 Saving money and the environment is very important to me. So I really try not to waste any food or missed opportunities to recycle plastic, glass or tin containers. 

Tip: When stocking up on spices for all of your Fall/Winter baking, look for the buy one and get one free deals at the grocery store. I got two pumpkin spices for one price! And pumpkin spice can be used in soo many things, so it was a "win- win" for me!

A pizza paddle can be used to serve a host of things. I like taking objects and give them multiple uses which is another money saving tip. You would be surprised by what you can find when you "shop your home." You will discover things you forgot about from days gone by...

Tip: When you are having an orange, zest it and save the zest in a washed empty spice bottle. There is just something special it adds to banana and pumpkin breads. Also "jumbo eggs" really do make a difference in your finished baked breads.

Until the next time, warm wishes from our home to yours.... 



Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Aestheticism: Past and Present

The hunt is real....

An example of " Southington Co.  Quadruple Silver plate butter dish circa 1800's to 1906."

My love of all things beautiful has turned into a treasure hunt, and a history lesson. I have always loved learning new things, exploring the past and acquiring beautiful things. This antique butter dish has led me on an antique information gathering expedition!

 I have found that the company  that produced it " Southington",  stopped making home case good pieces in the late 1800's which is called the "aestheticism era." Another term used was the "romantic era" or the "Edwardian era" to describe the time from the late 1800's to 1901. It seemed to be a time of an emerging "middle class" in America, so the need for some of the nicer things in life was in demand. So many companies made beautiful silver plate pieces, many  were made with a method called "quadruple plate. "

The link below is a very good read on how to identify a true antique piece of silver plate,  and much more. The butter dish has a detachable disc with a hole in the center. My guess was because back then, they made butter at home with cream, and any liquid could drain in the bottom of the dish. Now, I have to research to see if my guess is correct.

One of my favorite interior designers to watch on YouTube is Alex Papachristidis.  He has written several interior design books. I acquired a "pre-loved" copy of one of his books on Amazon using the "used" book purchasing option. The books title is " The Age of Elegance",  Interiors by Alex Papachristidis. He once said in a video, " everything should be beautiful!"  He says it does not matter where you find it,  and I agree with him 100 percent! 

The value of something I love is "priceless!" And a big part of the hunt is finding a bargain! 

Just as the Victorians and Edwardians loved beauty, so do I.... You know times change, but people really don't change. We still have the same innate desires and needs as the individual or family,  who owned this beautiful butter dish over 130 years ago!

 We all need to feel safe, and I feel safe at home. So "home" and "all things home" has always meant a lot to me. It is more than a shelter from the exterior elements, it is "shelter" from the sometimes harshness and coldness of the world. I am a believer of " civility" and I love surrounding myself  with things that " whisper" civility to me,  or anyone who is my guest.

Great wine, great food, and great friends mixed with a bit of "pampering" is what I call living my best life! And that is why I love writing about all things home. I will continue to share my little treasures with you, as I discover them.

These images speak to a part of my past. My maternal grandmother aka "Nonnie", whom I inherited the "collecting gene" from used to say, "you have to know your past in order to understand your present!"

 I find it fascinating that something over 130 years old, is perfectly at home on this female African American Oenophiles dining room table! She will soon have an antique butter pick, and some gold foil lace doilies from!  She may be old, but she does not require much!

I do not make butter, and  she is a little too old for me to rest my butter on her without doilies! I measured the butter dish,  and a package of 4 inch doilies will fit the bill! A tape measure is your friend,  when it comes to all things home.

I would love for you to comment and tell me what type of treasures you like to collect. Thanks for reading my post, it is my passion and my pleasure!  I plan to do some wine reviews, and share more recipes and tips for entertaining with all of you. Again, I am working hard on my typo issue, so thanks in advance for your kindness and consideration.



Friday, August 16, 2019

Culinary Accoutrements That Inspire

For me, it is all about the details...

An antique cold meat serving fork, Reed and Barton "Festivity" aka Tiger Lilly.

I have realized that I love Lillie's in a vase and on my flatware.  There is something soo "sexy" about its shape and smell; kinda like a  sexy and beautiful woman.

I remembered that I had this soup tureen in my kitchen cabinet last week. I used to entertain often when I first moved into my home in West Little Rock, AR.  Life has had some changes and challenges, but I intend to start entertaining again. I used to love to do it, because it brought joy to others who got my " pampering." A great meal, great wine, great music and great company is always a winning combination in my book.

A woman who I worked with at the time, who was invited for Christmas dinner at our home asked me, "You are not one of "those people" who serve Gumbo from the pot?" My answer was no, I do not... But I wish I had had this lovely ladle back then to really show off my tureen! What she did not know was I came from a " long line" of women who loved beautiful things for the home. We were not rich by far, but we were "rich" with loving "all things home."

This tureen housed some old fashioned New Orleans File` Gumbo about eleven years ago. A long time right; so I decided to wash it and give it a new antique ladle. It came with a matching ladle, but it just never seemed right.  I think some things find a place in your home because it meant to be there to be used and loved. This ladle is stamped 1905.   Can you imagine something being soo old, and yet soo resilient and beautiful? I can, that is why I like things with a past. We all have a past, and we all have a story.  I compare it to a woman that is "aging like fine wine! 

As I am aging, I have realized how precious life is, and I have decided to "live my best life!"  I live in the " now" and stop thinking about if I had this or that... I am living in  " joy" despite any life obstacles that are in my way!  So do not " save" things for a " special occasion" or for " company." You and your family are important, and deserve to be given love and care.

I have to include books that have lovely photos of food, table settings and recipes. One of my beloved books that I reached for the other day is "The Collected Tabletop" by Kathryn Crisp Greeley. This book truly provides me with inspiration. I was lucky enough to have won this book in a contest with At Home Arkansas

I got the inspiration from a recipe she calls " Olive Spread Napoleons." I decided to do my own spin on the "napoleon" and came up with a cream cheese stuffing to create my pecan napoleon. If you make the filling in advance, all you have to do is assemble them before your guest arrive. And if you have a helper, it would be all the better! You would be surprised what 4 ounces of cream cheese and a teaspoon of half and half can do, along with whatever herbs, spices, chopped dried fruit in a stand mixer with a paddle! And I might add they look soo beautiful! 

I am calling my creation, "Lorrie's Stuffed Pecan Bites."

Reed and Barton, "Festivity"  aka Tiger Lilly Silver plated ladle dated 1905.

I am thinking about what type of soups that will be ladled with this beautiful ladle. I think even something as ordinary as chili  or a batch of Crawfish Etouffee would be wonderful on a chilly Fall or Winter day.

This platter makes me think of all types of delicious meats or seafood that would fine a home on its surface. I could imagine roasted chicken or turkey breast resting on this platter!

A vase is not a culinary accoutrement, but it is a part of the "food show!" And you can make a vase out of almost anything that holds water. Garage sales, the dollar store or just everyday household items can make a lovely vase. My green vase came for the grocery store circa 2007! 

Thank you Kroger's for my vase, and for the food items that allow me to create all things food. Oh and thanks for having fresh flowers at a reasonable price! I really enjoy thinking of designing flower arrangements in  my head. It allows me to be creative, and when I am creative I feel "free!" 

I call it my " Grazing Cheese Board!

Also " shop your home." We forget about all of the things we have gathered over the years. Find them, take them out and clean them, then use them!  I told me dear friend Donna, " When I die I will have smelled all of my flowers, and used all the things that I love!" 

During the Fall and Winter, I like adding "feathers" to my flower arrangements.  I got them years ago at a local florist named, "Tipton Hurst." They used to have a location in West Little Rock up until maybe 2009 or so.  I have had the feathers since about 2008. They may be a bit "weary" due to use, but they are still holding on. I never aim for "perfection" in any part of my life. I am imperfect, and I think "imperfectness" of people and things give them character.

And we can't forget about the wine. A wonderful "Claret", Cabernet Sauvignon or red blend would find a home in the antique "Claret Jug." Sometimes a wine will provide me " inspiration" in deciding what dish I will prepare,  and what spices and seasonings I will use in the dish. I have a "pairing mantra" that goes, " Cabernet Sauvignon and Rosemary, and Syrah and Sage. 

So to end this post, I am going to link a post that has my recipe for sweet chicken and bacon wraps. They are soo easy and you can assemble them in advance. You just and pop them in the oven on some release aluminum foil on a large cookie sheet before your guest arrive, or before your movie starts!

 And please excuse any typos, my eyes have seen better days. It takes me a bit longer to write, but I refuse to stop writing! I pick myself up,  and brush myself off and start all over again. I have realized what is done, is done and we have to make the best out of any situation we are dealing with in this life. 

Also, I would love for you to comment in the comment section. 

Thanks in advance,

Lorrie xoxo

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Power of Green in Interior Design

My love affair with the color "dark green" happened many years ago. In the late 1990's my now ex-husband and I built a custom home in Eastern New Orleans. I had fallen in love with dark green granite, but our purse strings could not afford the "real thing" so we opted for a laminated "dupe" for dark green granite. I loved the counters and island in the rich green color. But in 2005, Hurricane Katrina came and destroyed it all. I was thinking about this today, if we would have spent all of that cash, it would have been destroyed by the harsh flood waters. The waters were soo toxic, that it took the silver off of sterling silver flatware!

There is some "meaning" in the colors we choose in our interiors. I happen to be in love with green, So here is a link to an article discussing green as it relates to interior design.

But time has gone by, and I realized my love for dark green is alive and well. I have begun to see all the other colors that can be paired with green. Green represents richness and life to me. We love money and grass and they are both green.

I think I would love a few dark green velvet panels from Pottery Barn for Winter. There is something soo lux about velvet panels. Pottery Barn used to carry velvet panels. I think when I can, I will "window shop" at our local Pottery Barn in Midtown. I always say, "everything starts with a dream and a vision."

This is an example of an outdoor goblet from Caspari's online website. I love "spying" all kinds of things to share with my readers on this blog.

Share with me some of your favorite colors to decorate your home in a comment. I would love to hear from you guys!

This green vase is a "find" from my local Kroger's store purchased around 2007 or 2008. I can not even remember how much I paid for it; I just thought it was special. Many things I love do not cost much money, but they "pack a design punch" that satisfies me all of the time. I handle it like it is a treasure, and of course it is green.  The flowers of today are sunflowers and white lilies, that are trying to bloom, well some of them.  I post pictures of flowers and wine because I think they are the answer to a  "civilized" life, during "uncivilized" times. We all have something that brings us comfort, and these are two of mine.

Well I hope you enjoyed our time together while reading my humble thoughts in this post. Leave a comment for me! xoxo 


Wednesday, August 14, 2019


I am a firm believer in repurposing things, especially nice wine bottles and jars. A couple of days ago, I prepared  orange barbecued chicken skewers. I am always "stumped" on where to soak my wooden skewers before using them on an indoor grill pan or an outdoor grill. So I was looking around my kitchen and "spied" a clear and beautiful empty French rose` wine bottle. I saved the bottle because it was beautiful,  and it had a glass stopper. I love glass stoppers! So I filled the wine bottle with water and inserted 6 wooden skewers in the bottle. The bottle is the perfect way to soak skewers! And the left over water is perfect for watering your herb plants. I have repurposed bottles and jars in a way that I believe to be beautiful!

I am calling this my "wine bottle skewer preparer!" I feel a little "Victorian" because they had all sorts of utensils and bottles for every culinary need. 

A repurposed "Ragu" Alfredo sauce jar became my Sugar Free Strawberry Balsamic Salad Dressing jar.

And this wine bottle is being used as a "bud vase."

There are soo many things you can do with empty wine bottles. I think with the right tool to drill a hole in the bottom and a lamp kit,  and add a shade you could make a lamp. I have also used a candle holder insert to make a candelabra with empty bottles. I especially like the dark large wine bottles and gold "Wine Writer" markers. Your guest can sign the bottle and you can write the date. That way you will always remember the fun you all had together.  And there is something very special about a person's handwriting; each signature is unique and special!

I think when we recycle,  we are doing our small part to save our planet! Let me know in the comments some of the ways that you repurpose wine bottles and jars.