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.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Art of Collecting

The Art of Collecting

This book was a gift from my dear friend Audrey who resides in  New Orleans.  The book is entitled,  "the epicurean collector, by Patrick Dunne with the Editors of Southern Accents.  It is a lovely book filled with soo much information for those who collect things for the home, notably "culinary antiques." The photographs are by Charles E. Walton IV. The photography is very beautiful in this lovely and educational book. She had the author sign the book for me. She gave this to me in 2009 when I returned to my place of birth and home for most of my life, the city of New Orleans.

 Hurricane Katrina was the catalyst for my evacuating/moving to West Little Rock, AR.  But our son Evan, who was almost nine years old then, was one of the main reasons we stayed. He needed the services of Little Rock in order for him to be the best that he can be due to Autism. Plus, there is a "quietness" that gives me peace, no matter what is going on in my life in this new,  or not so new place I now call home. I have lived here ever since Hurricane Katrina, and at the end of August it will be fourteen years.

It seems the older I get, the more I appreciate things that have a past. As human beings we all have a past, and if we are blessed enough we can live to tell our stories. Antiques also have a past. I enjoy imagining where they lived, who served from them, what was the party like, and ultimately, was it loved.

This antique "Claret Jug" seems to be circa early 1900's. I saw it,  and "willed" it to be mine. Sometimes we see things and have an "immediate" connection to them. This is the case and point of this jug that was procured from ebay.

I am in no way rich; I am rich in spirit. A lot of people feel only "wealthy" people are "collectors." Not so... I think people "sacrifice" to obtain items.... period!  That is why I am always happy for others when they obtain the "desires of their hearts." 

I have always been a member of the club that's philosophy is,  " if you buy things that you love, they will work well together." And for some reason, I have fallen in love with items from the early 1900's. I try not to imagine what my life would have been like in 1918, the year my maternal grandmother was born. But I would have loved to take a peak into the glamorous parties of the " Gilded Age."  

I got the "collecting bug" earnestly from my grandmother, who we lovingly called "Nonnie."  My Nonnie would make my mama get up early on some weekends to attend "estate sales." She always knew where to find wonderful finds on a budget. I am so blessed to have gotten that "gene" from her.

 When my beloved claret jug arrived, I carefully and lovingly looked at it. All I could do is think about what my Nonnie would say about my beautiful find. I think she would smile at me, and tell me, " I did good."  The difference between my Nonnie, mama and me is, that I use my things. Life is not promised to any of us. So while I am here, I will look at my flowers ( smell my beloved lilies), use my "finds" and enjoy my life. 

I am awaiting this silver plate cold meat fork. The pattern is supposed to be from the early 1900's. It is Reed and Barton "Festivity", aka "Tiger Lilly."  Based on the picture from ebay, "Tiger Lilly" would have been the most appropriate name for the flatware. There is something "beautiful" and "sensuous" about the "Lilly."  The shape and smell of them is ultra feminine to me. It is almost like me in a flower form, wanting to evolve in my own way. The Lilly takes its own sweet time to open up, and show her true beauty, just as I feel a woman should. But the shape of this flower has a sense of "artful freedom",   which I find refreshing. 

This fork was about $10.00, but to me it is "priceless." I am hoping the silver plating is intact, and all I have to do is wash it,  in "really" warm soapy water and rinse it with hot water and dry it!  I am going to use this antique fork for any sliced meat or even fried chicken on a platter. 

Beautiful objects were made for us to use, and believe me I practice what I preach.  I used to hear older ladies in New Orleans say, " I only use this for company, baby..." I say, I am my best company first and foremost! 

Well, I hope that you enjoyed this post, and the wine that is in the claret jug is Francis Coppola 2016 Black Label Claret. 



Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Life's Little Luxuries

Many years ago, prior to Hurricane Katrina, my best friend Donna treated me to a wine show. They had representatives from almost every California winery. I was in awe of the huge space, and soo much wine! I had started writing a newsletter entitled, "Life's Little Luxuries Newsletter." So I decided to bring a few copies to the wine event, to basically test the waters of my emerging wine and food writer journey.

I was well received by all of the vendors. I met Amelia Ceja  of Ceja Vineyards and her family as well as Robert Larson who was then a representative of Rodney Strong Winery to name a few. Things just seem to take on a "life of its own",  in my wine writer journey. I was blessed to meet Jo Diaz and George Rose, all through social media. I still am connected with these wonderful people through Facebook.

I loved writing post, but had to stop due to issues with my sight. But I realized we can't change some things in this life, we just have to "edit" and move on... This is my first post in many years, so I may have a few errors, so please excuse any you see.  I really would love to get back into the wine and food writing arena.

 I started a Facebook group entitled, "All Things Home." I think the members are enjoying the group. But I think it is time for me to "step out in faith" and begin writing again.

Life can be quite harsh, and the things in life that provide comfort and civility are good for our minds and souls. I always tell myself, "Girl you may not be rich with money, but you are rich in soul."

"Civility" is what is needed in our world. Having a glass of wine, sipping a cup of tea, and reading your favorite home shelter magazine are some of my rituals I practice,  to have a sense of "joy" in my life. Life is what you make of it... If we fall, we get up and start all over again... it is called living.

Surrounding yourself with things you love is like a "cocoon" that shelters you,  and just makes you feel good. It can be a wine goblet, a tea cup or a dish, if it makes you feel good then go for it! The older I become, the more I see the importance of "joy!" I derive joy by having a glass of wine, baking, developing new recipes and on a small level "collecting" things for my home. Home has always been important to me. I am blessed to have saved a few items from my home in New Orleans which was damaged in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. So when I see pieces that have survived "all of the storms" of my life, I feel a sense of comfort and joy.

So here are some examples of life's little luxuries...

These cups and saucers were a find on ebay. They were $20.00. When these were new, the young Lorrie could not afford them. Now they are one of my treasures!

I love flowers and they are a luxury.

All things wine is always appreciated. A "Claret" jug that probably tell us some stories from times gone by...

Having the house smell of baked goods is a luxury as well...

"Pre-loved"  books that speak to all things home are always welcomed. 

This cookbook, "Crescent City Cooking",  was a book I won in a contest!

And this cookbook, "Cooking up a Storm" was a gift from my "daughter from another mama", Tonia Johnson.

Well, this was a long "welcome back" post. I am hoping to post a wine review soon! Remember, sometimes the smallest things bring us joy!

The pot on the end was from my son Evan's Special Education Class when he was in Middle School. Evan will be 23 in early October of this year! His teacher was wonderful! I treasure it! 

My Mother's Day gift this year was a tea kettle from my beautiful daughter Angelle. I use it almost everyday. 

And  book given to me by a friend (Audrey)whom I have known since high school. 

And last, but not least, a vase that has survived many storms filled with flowers.