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....