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Friday, September 16, 2016

Pumpkin Time!

Fall signals its arrival with a fantastic variety of pumpkins at the Western North Carolina Farmer's Market.  I love this market. It is open every day of the week and showcases a great selection of seasonal produce. Spices and herbs, jellies and jams, smoked meats and cheeses, nuts and bread mixes are also abundant.






Located in the back of the market on the lower level, during the fall a sea of pumpkins delight your eye.  I went with my friend Jill to purchase some for her front porch.

 
Every color - green, grayish green, peach, white, orange.
These particular white ones are flat- almost like a flying saucer.
 
 
I  chuckle when I hear the names of some of these varieties of  pumpkins- like the "lunch ladies" above! Or another name like- "one too many", named for the  farmer that imbibed a bit too much bourbon and  developed a pumpkin that looks like a blood shot eyeball.
 

 
"Snake- like" gourds- not for me!

 These nubby little guys are called "knuckleheads"!
 
 
My favorite!

 
Back to Jill's house with our stash!  Look at the huge white pumpkin-
I have never seen a white pumpkin as large as this one.
Bundles of bittersweet are tucked in to add to the charming  fall display.
Even though fall doesn't officially start until next week, we are ready for it.
The leaves changing in the Carolina mountains- we are looking forward to it!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

A Southern House Warming Gift

Moving to the South brings an entirely new experience to culinary endeavors. Having grown up in rural Virginia, I was quite familiar with the customs and traditions of good old Southern cooking.  In the South, we don't eat to live--  we live to eat!   My dear friends- the Millers-  moved into their new southern home a couple of weeks ago.  Last night was the first dinner party in their home.  What a delight to watch the entire family around the massive kitchen island- chopping and chatting!  It is a culinary dream come true- complete with a professional Wolf range, Wolf steam oven, ice maker, large Sub Zero refrigerator, plus Sub Zero freezer drawers in the island!  A dish pantry, a crystal cupboard and lot's of storage are available to fill with more dishes than anyone could ever imagine! This kitchen is obviously the heart of the home.  I promise more pictures of this gorgeous kitchen very soon..  but today is about the perfect southern house warming gift for a very dear friend-
 
So what to bring as a southern style housewarming gift to the girl that has more antique dishes, crystal and silver than she could ever possibly need?  More antique dishes, more silver and more southern culinary treats of course! After all, we are in the south-
 
Starting with a great silver tray that I found at Vintageville in Biltmore Village, I began to gather culinary treats to fill it's surface.  Hendersonville, NC proved to be quite fruitful in this quest.  They have several antique stores that are great- Jane's on Main Street and Village Green,  a large antique mall, a couple of doors up the street.  I had a blast there- gathering all sorts of treasures. I didn't want the day to end.


The first thing that I spotted as I walked into Jane's was a silver server and fork with JM initials.  I could not believe my eyes- my friend's initials in a beautiful script!
These would be perfect for serving pies or cake or even fish!  


 Several doors down at the Village Green antique mall, these beautiful cobalt blue and gold lace filigree plates had stopped me in my tracks.  A must have- perfect to go with Jill's flo-blue collection and the perfect plate to serve a piece of southern pie!  A theme was beginning to emerge.
 


 
 In the back of the store, a dealer had neatly tied up lots of vintage silver in bundles. Scouring through the big tray of silver, I could not believe my eyes- ice cream forks!  Did you ever try to decide whether to use a fork or a spoon for a ice cream accompanied dessert?  This little utensil solves the problem- you can easily eat your pie and your ice cream too!
 
 The bowl of the spoon was detailed with a beautiful embossed detail- so pretty.
 
Silver is a very southern thing to me.  When I got married, we received 17 silver trays for gifts- most of them monogrammed.  Silver candle sticks, revere bowls, silver casseroles were received as well  People in the south use their silver. My mother in law kept her sterling in the kitchen drawer and used it every day.  Jill and I have talked a lot about using our beautiful things everyday and not tucking them away.  I think she will actually do it in this home!
 
 
Also in the tray of flatware, another treasure- citrus spoons.  With a pointed tip and a deeper bowl, you can easily dig into a grapefruit half and take out the fruit.
 

Notice the monogram- another southern favorite detail. 
 I am not sure if it is an S or a J- it really doesn't matter. I am buying them anyway!
 

 
 Next it was on to the Sage Gourmet in downtown Hendersonville to look for a basic Southern cookbook  and I found it! From cornbread to grits, everything is covered!
 
 
While browsing the store, I spotted this smoked Carolina honey! 
Perfect for a hard cheese or a pork tenderloin!
 
 
 Bourbon Smoked Pepper- another fun find for the gift.
 
 
Then it was time to go home and assemble the gift.  I  purchased several magazines about Autumn in the South, Table Settings  and Fall baking to tie up and place on the tray.  The silver serving set was polished and tied with hand dyed French seam binding and a Carolina turkey feather.

 
 Same ribbon for the ice cream forks too!
 
 
Next I tucked in the plates, some feathers, acorns and the adorable velvet pumpkin and velvet corn from Hot Skwash that I found at another great gift store in Hendersonville- Benson Bab Interiors.
 
 
The velvet corn has real corn shucks for the topper.
The blue velvet will be the perfect accent color for the living room.

 
Tucked in the food products-

 I made another trip to the flower farm in Mills River to get a bucket of dahlias for the Millers- the perfect autumn flower and they are just glorious now!



 
I was told by the ladies at the antique mall, that the best Apple Pie in Henderson County was at
Coston's apples.  When leaving the flower farm, we drove to the orchard and purchased an apple pie made with Honey Crisp apples to place under the crystal pie dome from Horchow.  In the past , people stored pies in pie safes or screened cupboards. 
 I think this crystal pie dome is more fitting for Jill's new kitchen.

 
                         Finally assembled, it is time to cellophane wrap the entire tray!

 
With the dahlias in fresh water and ready to travel-

 
The tray wrapped and tied with a bow and feathers-
I had so much fun assembling this gift that I am sorry that it is finished.

 
Time for Autumn in the South at the Miller's new home!  
I hope that I am invited back for pie! 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Romancing the Garage Door

Let's face it- garage doors are something that I have never paid much attention, never mind fantasizing about design elements on them.  All that changed yesterday!  Our builder sent us to approve our garage door design and select the hardware elements for the door.  I never  thought about garage door hardware- just took it for granted I guess!  All I cared about was that the door went up and down when I wanted it to!!!! However, the new house that we are building has garage doors that are a major design element of the front of the home.

We started out wanting three garages that faced away from the front of the house- never to be seen by passers by.  However, our steep mountainous lot did not allow for that concept and the garage doors are the first thing you see when arriving to the property.



Since the  garage doors are a key feature, our architect gave them the look of old carriage house doors.  And to make them much easier to navigate with our large SUV's, he widened the opening from the standard 8 feet to 9 feet wide.  The height is 9 feet instead of the standard 8 to accommodate car top carriers, etc.

Calling for a carriage house design, the doors are designed to appear like 4 separate doors that swing wide open. 

Searching Pinterest for some interesting garage door designs, I found the following-



 
Love the pergola over these doors with the soft plants in the front of the columns.

 
Another rounded pergola with pots as the planters.

 Love the reclaimed wood and hardware detail on these doors.
 


 Another Pinterest picture showing how important the hardware is to the design of the door.
 
 
 
 
This garage is adorable and makes you think of fairytale cottages. 

 
Another garage door made by the artisans that are making our door- reclaimed barn wood.
Made right here just past Black Mountain in Mt. Pilot.
 
 
Yesterday, we viewed door hardware from several manufactures.
 
Gorgeous stuff-
 
 



Rocky Mountain Hardware- my absolute favorite!  They are making our front door hardware and I would love to use them for the garage doors too!


 
However, our final decision was to use a local artisan that hand forges hardware for
Carriage House Doors out of Burnsville, NC, about 30 miles north of here. 
They can be painted to match the Rocky Mountain Hardware for the front door.
 

 
 
 From the Tuscan Collection, we chose the Bar Handle.  They are taller and balance the taller doors.
There will be 2 on each door.
 
 
 And the 24 inch Cambridge strap- the original choice of our architect!
 
 
The Carriage House door for our new home! Looks like they swing open, but they roll-up like a traditional garage door!   Ours will be stained a grey tone to match the shutters on the house.
 
Next decision is what the driveway material will be??
Who knew one could spend so much time on a garage door???
Building this house has certainly been an adventure.